Greg Monroe Worth the Top 5 pick?

Steve O Speak

Georgetown’s Greg Monroe came into school filling the large shoes of center Roy Hibbert, now two years later he is leaving and will surpass Hibbert in terms of draft status. Monroe isn’t widely considered a top 5 pick, but I think he is well worth the investment and will end up being one of the 5 best players from this draft class. A lot of teams and pundits try to knock him for one thing or another, and while some of the knocks are real, they are overblown.

Most experts argue that Monroe lacks the explosiveness and athleticism for the NBA. While he’s not as athletic and explosive as some, he also isn’t just a body out there. He does well in transition and can get to the basket and finish. The other knock on Monroe is that he isn’t strong enough and not a tough enough rebounder. And I understand that somewhat since he will be facing a much tougher breed of big man in the NBA, that adding strength is a must. But Monroe isn’t exactly a weak man in the middle out there. He increased his rebounds by over three boards a game last season, and didn’t really get pushed around too much in college.

All-in-all, I love Monroe and think his strengths outweigh his weaknesses. Monroe has excellent basketball I.Q., which is why he can get by without top notch athleticism. He also is a very unselfish player, who has great ball handling ability for a big man. He can be a dangerous passer in the paint and should set up a lot of open shots. Monroe has prototypical size and wingspan, and with his I.Q. he knows how to use them. He has good range for a big man, and a pretty advanced offensive game. And the best thing that Monroe brings to the table is his work ethic. Monroe really refined his game between his freshman and sophomore campaigns, and has been impressive on the workout trail this season. While many teams may prefer DeMarcus Cousins (who really could be an exceptional player if he puts his mind to it) or Derrick Favors (who is a bit of a risk in my opinion) , Monroe is a the safest and smartest choice. His attitude and work ethic make up for any minor athletic discrepancies.  In many ways Monroe reminds me of Tim Duncan, and while I don’t know if he will reach that pinnacle, I don’t think he will be far off.

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