Greg Monroe had to wait until his seventh season in the NBA to play in the playoffs and he is making his presence felt off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks. Since he arrived in the NBA, the game has changed and slowly the demand for a big man with a post game started to dwindle. In the summer of 2015, Monroe was a free agent catch for the Bucks who beat out big market teams like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers to secure his signature on a three-year contract with a player option after the second year, this year. Heading into the playoffs it was all but a certainty that he would opt-in but with his play on the largest stage he might look around.
After his first year with the Bucks, head coach Jason Kidd made the decision to move Monroe to the bench. Instead of moping about his demotion, Monroe chose to make the best of it. He had a successful season coming off the bench for the Bucks averaging 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds while shooting 53.2% from the floor. For a young team like the Bucks, there are times when they may hit a lull on offense but Monroe is able to provide a post presence and a big pick-and-roll target for the guards. However, once the playoffs began Monroe has become an important part of their bench unit. Even though his minutes pretty consistent, he is averaging 16 points, 8.7 rebounds a night, good for third and second on the team.
Monroe does a great job of screening, like in the play where he set a screen and then re-screened until Khris Middleton found him for a layup. After getting a great cross screen from Jason Terry, Monroe posted up on the block, drove baseline then spun baseline off his defender to get another easy bucket.
Monroe is doing more than just scoring for the Bucks, he is playing solid pick-and-roll defense as the Toronto Raptors continue to try to single him out in those situations. His playoff defensive rating numbers are a bit skewed by the beating they put on them in game three but if you take that game out it is a solid 9.1 point improvement from the regular season, 106.4 to 97.3 in their first playoff games.
When Cory Joseph came off a pick-and-roll and drove passed Matthew Dellavedova, he found Greg Monroe waiting for him to draw a charge. In game three, Monroe switched onto Kyle Lowry who had an entire side cleared out for him and blocked his shot attempt.
For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking his game to another, Middleton is providing another scoring option, Brogdon and Delly are harassing the guards for the Raptors, Thon Maker is showing real promise and Greg Monroe is delivering and delivering big.
He has increased his points and rebounds while his minutes have remained the same. He has also provided good defense off the bench for the Bucks and has helped them take the driver seat in the playoffs so far. In addition to all of this, Greg Monroe has put himself in a position to get a bigger contract should he choose to opt-out.
- Thon Maker’s Development is Speeding Up
- J. A. Adande from ESPN Rising Bucks leave Raptors with a Broken Feeling in Game 3
- Photo Credit – Associated Press