Quality is a relative term. One man’s trash is another man’s trash that he treasures (or whatever). Your Member’s Only windbreaker and matching L.A. Gears were the bees knees two decades ago, but bury those things in a time capsule, dig them up today and hand them to a hobo, and there’s no WAY you’d be able to refrain from snickering at the guy. Did you put that stuff in a time capsule just to make fun of a homeless guy two decades later? That’s a little cold, bro. Just give the bum your outdated clothes and leave him alone – who cares if he likes them? Besides, are we sure the flashing lights at the heel of those L.A. Gears aren’t making a comeback? Really? Are you super sure? Why do you seem so positive about this? /sigh Anyway, as far as returning for a second go-round as strong as the first, there’s one keeper to hang on tighter to than your multi-colored windbreaker: Greg Monroe. Scroll down (with your eyes, not with your mouse) to read why Monroe’s a top-notch fantasy basketball keeper in 2011.
Let’s start at the beginning, when Mama Monroe and Papa Monroe met, fell in love and got busy … actually, let’s just skip ahead 20 years to the end of Monroe’s rookie season with Detroit. He ended up averaging 9/8/1, with 1.8 stl+blk in 28 mpg. Not bad, but he should be able to improve on those averages. Why do I think that? Because he already did! Whoa! Brain, blown. In 25 post-All-Star Break games (or 31 percent of his season, if you’re a percentagist), Monroe averaged 14/10/2, with 2.5 stl+blk in 33 mpg. Now, have I got your attention? That’s Joakim Noah territory, only without the flyaways and injury-riddled past. There are only six active centers who averaged at least 9/8 in their rookie season (seven if Shaq had waited a week to announce that he was no longer an active member of the NBA). For what it’s worth, if you isolate Monroe’s January-April stats (13/10), the number of active centers with THAT line in their rookie year drops to just one: Emeka Okafor’s 15/11. Cynics will point out that Monroe’s stats increased from month-to-month right along with his minutes per game. But the cynics bum me out, man. They also listen to far too much Morrissey. His free throw percentage ain’t great, (Monroe’s, not Morrissey’s – Morrissey never shot below 86 percent. I cannot verify that, just trust me), but it improved steadily over the course of the season, which is doubley good when you consider that Monroe (or MAHN-row, if you’re a blues musician over the age of 75) slowly figured out how to get to the line over the course of the season (he shot an average of 1.6 free throws in November, 2.7 in December, 3.7 in January, 2.4 in February, 3.7 in March, and 4.4 in April), while keeping opponents off the line (he averaged one foul every 10.9 minutes in the first 55 games of the season. In the next 25, he only fouled once every 12.1 minutes). Almost across the board, Monroe improved his game. He’ll be a year older, smarter and clearly at the front of Detroit’s terrible depth chart. If you had him last year, keep him next year. “Just Do It,” as Nike would say because Monroe will be “Unstoppable” as
L.A. Gear Akeem would say.