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Is the Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond Duo Ready to Start?

December 19th, 2012 at 9:49 AM
By Phil Fattore


Grantland's Zach Lowe took a look at the NBA's big men, "Odd Couples" of this season. Surprise, surprise, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond made the list. While Drummond hasn't yet started alongside Monroe this season, every time the two young "bigs" get on the floor together Pistons fans start looking to the future. Still, when the two are on the floor together it's not as dominating as it may appear. Here's what Lowe had to say on Grantland about the Drummond, Monroe pairing in the post:
"This might be the only reason Detroit fans are watching the team, even if it leaves them angry the front line of the future isn't playing more. Monroe and Drummond have logged only 91 minutes together so far, and you can kind of understand Lawrence Frank's reluctance. Detroit's offense, already in the league's bottom 10, drops off by about five points per 100 possessions — a huge number — when the two bigs share the floor. But the defense improves by about the same amount — the equivalent of jumping from about 20th to fifth overall. Detroit is one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league, but when Monroe-Drummond (Mummond?) take the floor, they grab everything in sight, rebounding at a league-best rate on both ends.
Drummond is raw, and Detroit struggles to space the floor on offense as it is. Monroe is a minus defender, and the pair are in the very early stages of developing a defensive chemistry — of learning when to switch on the fly, how to time those rotations, and when to help elsewhere.
And Drummond plays with a restraint that makes it look as if he's afraid to unleash his full athleticism, lest he accidentally injure teammates or fans in the first 10 rows. He's a freak, and once he finds the right balance between freakishness and control, he could develop into a devastating player — and a perfect back-line complement to the ground-bound Monroe on defense. As it is, he's still figuring out what to do with himself when Monroe works with the ball at the elbow or rolls to the rim on pick-and-rolls. He needs to learn how and when to cut off of Monroe so as not to clog things up; there's a reason Frank uses Charlie Villanueva as a floor-spacing power forward to break things up."
It's hard to argue with Lowe on this issue, especially when the hard offensive statistics are laid out, and are in no way favorable for the duo. Still, what Lowe points out is something that Pistons fans watching the games observe every night. The Pistons rebounding is horrible when Drummond is not on the floor, it doesn't pass the "eyeball test." So, fans point to Drummond's defense and rebounding, and scream for the rookie to start. But fans also watch Drummond and Monroe work together on offense, and that's when Lowe's comments about Drummond playing with restraint are very easily observed. 
Drummond doesn't yet seem to know where to go on the floor when Monroe is working on offense. Until that happens, or until Lawrence Frank can figure out how to keep Drummond on the floor while still giving Monroe the spacing he needs to work on offense, expect the Drummond-Monroe tandem to be used in spurts, not "starts." That is, unless the Pistons decide to make the season all about player development.
Tags: Andre Drummond, Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Greg Monroe, NBA

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