Five quick takes on the Greg Monroe signing.
(But first, special thanks to @Celtics1788 for use of the photoshop above.)
1. Al Horford prefers playing the 4 to the 5, and was quietly in Danny Ainge‘s ear last season at this time for a move like this. (Likely origins of the Ainge “rim protection and rebounding” comment heard ’round the world.)
Beyond the good basketball sense this move makes, it’s nice to see the Celtics now taking Horford’s advice. It’s good advice.
“Man could we use two points right now”
2. Monroe is an efficient scorer down low.
Indeed, Monroe is a creature of the post. He shoots .568 for his career close to the basket, and that hasn’t declined in the last two years — despite his more limited minutes and role.
More than anything else, he’s an answer to many of those game situations where, late third or early fourth quarter, a lead is dwindling or a deficit is widening. You know: The Celtics haven’t scored for three straight possessions, and your buddy turns to you and says:
“Man, we could really use a basket right here. Just 2 points. We just need a friggin’ basket.”
(And you can’t hack-a-Monroe. He’s a career 70 percent free-throw shooter.)
“Rim protection and rebounding”
3. Monroe’s counting stats don’t point to a lot of rim protection — a 1.7 percent career blcok percentage, which has declined the last several years. At this point in his career, he’s lost some of the little foot speed he had.
But if he’s coming off the bench most nights (see below), he won’t be facing up against a lot of the league’s best, nor helping and switching against them.
And note: Monroe’s career DRtg is better than you might think: 106. He’s not a defensive stopper, but not really a big liability.
Baynes, Theis — roles and minutes.
How do the minutes and roles sort out? We wouldn’t be surprised to see Theis or Monroe move into a starting role. Brad Stevens likes to play a veteran big (Amir Johnson, Baynes) to start games, but doesn’t necessarily give them full starter minutes.
On the other hand, Monroe adapted to coming off the bench in Milwaukee last season. He can play well with Morris, Horford, Rozier, and Marcus Smart — or with the starters.
5. Bottom line:
In the last 8 months, the Celtics have gone from very low talent and depth up front to much closer to the league average. (Please don’t @ us, Kelly Olynyk fans.)
In one swoop, and without giving up any assets, the Celtics got deeper at a position of weakness. They add a veteran who gets along well with Horford and Irving,
And an Rx for the next time your buddy says, “man, we just need a bucket right here. Just 2 points.”
Comments from (mostly) those we respect.
I like the Monroe signing. Low-risk, high-reward move. Defense won't be exposed in the second unit, and offensively he'll be a better version of Morris – not in terms of style, but in terms of "go get us a bucket-ness."
— Blood Runs Green ☘ (@BloodRunsGreen_) February 2, 2018
I’ve always liked Monroe. He has his flaws but he’s a bit like Horford in that he does things on offense that help everyone else and you may not notice it. Such a smart half court player.
— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) February 2, 2018
Marcus Morris on Celtics adding Greg Monroe: “I think he’s going to be a great piece for us.” Morris also said his sore butt feels better. pic.twitter.com/fZEpawQ9gf
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) February 2, 2018
Here’s some highlights from when Greg Monroe had 29 points on the Celtics a few years ago. He was too strong for anyone to stop. There’s not many guys that can stop him from scoring once he gets the ball in the low post.
He really made Sullinger look silly with that last move. pic.twitter.com/6EudYv210U
— Brian Jones (@JonesyNBA) February 2, 2018