CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – You know how they say ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’? Not in every case.
Rumors have emerged of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ interest in recently acquired Phoenix Suns big man, Greg Monroe, should he be bought out. By no means is the 27-year-old ‘trash,’ but that does not mean he would be a treasure for the Cavs.
Monroe is a stalwart in the league, a tough veteran who averages upwards of 26 points and 15 rebounds per 100 possessions, but is an out and out defensive liability. The F/C posted a defensive rating of 106.4 in his second season in Milwaukee last year, 253rd in the league on the 20th-rated defensive club in the NBA, which was slightly worse than Kevin Love.
At a time when the wine and gold sit in dead last in the NBA with a 112 defensive rating, the last thing they need is another new body, albeit one who struggles defensively. The Cavaliers also allow 18.6 baskets within six feet of the basket per game through 13 games, which at their current pace would put Monroe to work.
Even with a healthy Tristan Thompson, the team lacks a true center, though the term has devolved as of late. What the team truly needs is a rim protector of some sort, a role that has become harder to find, especially with the downsizing of NBA lineups.
Furthermore, as the game extends more to the 3-point line, Monroe’s game does not. In a world where the Cavaliers are playing Kevin Love at center, though he spends much time beyond the arc, Monroe has attempted just 12 3-pointers in his career.
With position-less basketball on the horizon, Monroe is very much locked into one or two positions, at which neither he defends well. Unless Tyronn Lue is intent on going away from the style that the Golden State Warriors have begun to spread throughout the league, a potential addition of “Moose” would bog down the paint.
Perhaps this is a reason for the decline of Monroe’s minutes since 2013-14. He lost his starting status under Stan Van Gundy in Detroit before signing in Milwaukee the next season. It only took another season before Jason Kidd moved Monroe to the bench, seeing his minutes drop from 29.3 per contest to 22.5.
Monroe’s minutes through five games this season sat at 15.8, a career low, before battling a calf injury and ultimately being traded.
What he does bring to the table offensively is his use in the pick and roll. Last season, Monroe shot after the PnR on 1.4 possessions per contest, averaging 1.23 points per possession. That placed him in the 89th percentile in the NBA.
That being said, Monroe would never be perceived as a threat to pick and pop, and almost never pulls up. Operating almost exclusively with his back to the basket with no dribbles, Monroe averaged 0.90 ppp on the post up, placing him in the 56th percentile.
Even with the second unit alongside Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade upon the return of Isaiah Thomas, Monroe would further plug up the paint on a unit that cannot shoot effectively. His defense paired with Rose’s revolving door at the point could prove utterly disastrous.