Greg Monroe signed with Bayern Munich leaving the NBA to play in the EuroLeague, in a very important transfer move for the German club and generally for the European basketball.
The transfer of the 29-year-old center from New Orleans will have quite an impact over the course of the season.
A player with 632 appearances in the NBA and 27 playoff games in the postseason in his career.
Bayern Munich definitely found their best player, who can lead their offense for the next season.
The hopeful start
Monroe, 29, had an impactful start on his career being No.7 of the 2010 NBA draft.
He began his career in Detroit where he spent five seasons before signing a free-agent deal with the Bucks in 2015.
Milwaukee sent him to Phoenix in 2017. Eric Bledsoe deal and the Suns held onto him for half of the 2017-18 season before waiving him, which allowed him to sign the with the Celtics for the remainder of the season.
Last season, he played for the Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers.
He was always a great offensive player, while the best season of his career was the third year of his spell with the Detroit Pistons.
In the 2012-2013 seasn, Monroe averaged almost a double-double with 16 points and 9.6 rebounds, adding also 3.5 assists per game.
After that, basketball gradually changed to a less low post oriented game, since the resurgence of the 2014 Spurs and the “splash brothers” that appeared in the Golden State Warriors.
The playing time for the center from New Orleans progressively reduced season after season.
The Strengths of Monroe
Monroe is a great post-up scorer, who can finish well around the basket especially on the right and left block. Namely, the 56.7% of his points, when he was playing for the Boston Celtics in the 2018-2019 season, came in the restricted area.
Also, 35.7% of his field goals came from the painted area and 26.7% from mid-range. So, Monroe is a player that will impact the game inside the paint and not from beyond the three-point line.
Furthermore, he is a great rebounder, having a career average of 8.3 rebounds per game and being constantly on the right position, after a missed shot.
In addition, he is a good passer having the ability to find the open man on occasions, averaging about 2.3 assists per game on his career.
Finally, he has quite “active hands” on defense averaging 1.1 steals per game, which is a good number especially for a big man.
A defensive liability
So why didn’t Greg Monroe find a contract on an NBA team? The answer has to do with Monroe’s defensive deficiencies and the lack of three-point shooting.
The modern big men in the NBA have to stretch the floor, but in the case of Monroe, the center from New Orleans made the first three-pointer of his career last season.
Also, on his nine-year in the NBA, he attempted a total of 17 three pointers throughout his career.
Furthermore, he cannot defend well in the block, despite being a physical center that can “bully” his way to the hoop on the offensive end.
When Monroe was on the floor, the defensive rating and the net rating of his team was almost always a minus.
In particular, on 43 games in the 2018-2019 season, his team was on -6.7 net rating, while averaging 113.6 points per 100 possessions, when he was on the floor, playing on the road.
In addition, he is not a capable rim-protector averaging less than one block per game throughout his career, despite being a 6.11 center with a 7.2 wingspan.
The impact on the European basketball
Monroe is the third big man, who signed a contract with a European club coming over from the US, after Nikola Mirotic and Kostas Koufos.
That’s a big win for the European basketball and particularly for the EuroLeague.
Maybe, the success of moves like the signing of Monroe or Koufos will create a new path and will levitate the status of the basketball operations in Europe.
Either way, Bayern found a player that can change the balance on their offensive plan and improve their hopes of entering the playoffs in a very competitive season in the EuroLeague.