Over the course of the season, Greg Monroe
has slowly but surely risen up the draft boards of scouts and executives across the country, as hes played excellent all-around basketball for the Hoyas, showing a level of assertiveness in all areas of the game so many felt was absent last season.
On the offensive end, Monroe frequently calls for the ball in the low and high post, while fighting consistently for position and moving off the ball to get open. With the ball, Monroe can hurt the defense in a variety of ways, but his best skill is undoubtedly his passing ability. Showing excellent court vision and instincts with the ball in his hands, Monroe makes a variety of outstanding passes from the perimeter, high post, and low post, finding open shooters and slashers alike. From the first day he steps onto the court in the NBA, theres little doubt that hell already be among the leagues elite passing big men.
Beyond his passing, Monroe has a variety of effective tools at the college level, starting with his back-to-the-basket game. In the post, he shows excellent coordination and footwork, along with strong finishing ability with his left hand. He mixes in a good variety of power and finesse while using fakes and counter-moves pretty well to get his man off balance.
That said, there are a few notable problems with Monroes post game, most importantly his complete and utter lack of a right hand, along with any finesse moves off his left shoulder in general. When defenders force him to turn left shoulder, Monroe is incredibly inefficient, relying mainly on an inaccurate right-handed hook shot, but more often than not forcing his moves to the right shoulder instead, leading to more low percentage attempts. This has been a problem since he walked onto campus at Georgetown, and despite his improved overall play this season, this still remains a significant weakness.
Aside from his problems with his right hand, Monroes post game has other problems projecting to the pros, as hes not an especially explosive player, while having a low release point on the majority of his shots out of the post. He lacks anything even resembling a turnaround jumper off either shoulder, and the rest of his moves dont generate much separation in the post, which could lead to major problems against longer, more athletic defenders in the pros.
On the bright side, Monroe has become a much tougher player in the painted area this season, getting to the line at a high rate and not shying away from contact much, but he doesnt finish through contact especially well, and its questionable how often bigs will need to foul him in the pros, given his other limitations.
Monroe also spends a good number of his possessions attacking off the dribble, showing very good body control and coordination in this regard, flashing impressive moves fairly often, showing himself capable of finishing on high difficulty spin drives for example. That said, Monroe is incredibly inefficient in these situations, showing average ball-handling skills going in either direction, though his problems are certainly magnified when going right.
According to Synergy, Monroe is scoring at a dreadful rate of 0.39 PPP going right out of isolations, and not much better at 0.57 PPP going left. The biggest problem here is in the turnover department, as hes frequently called for travels or just outright loses the ball with his shaky control. Going right, he turns the ball over on 33% of his possessions, while that decreases to a still high 21% when going left. While increased spacing in the pros could help Monroes face-up game some, it will probably be offset when you consider the type of athletes hell be going up against at the power forward position on a nightly basis.
Beyond that, another highly concerning area for Monroe is his complete lack of a perimeter shot, not being reliable at all from the mid or long range spotting up. Hes converted just 11 of his 45 jump-shot attempts (24%) this season according to Synergy, struggling in both catch and shoot and off the dribble situations. While he occasionally will show mechanics that look decent or better, he too often doesnt hold his follow through, doesnt square his body to the basket, and just doesnt show good control in general. Given the question marks surrounding the rest of his scoring game, developing this should be critical for Monroe moving forward, and it should be among his main priorities this summer.
Defensively is an area where Monroe has made significant strides this season, showing a much higher level of rotational awareness, even directing his teammates at times. He does a good job of rotating himself, however his lack of explosiveness hinders his ability to do much contesting around the rim, and hes probably not as assertive as he could be in this regard either.
In the post, Monroe has done a very good job developing his fundamental base and using his physical tools well, getting up into his man, extending his length overhead, and forcing the opposition into tough shots while not surrendering position easily. On the perimeter, however, Monroe looks awfully out of sorts, getting beat laterally very frequently, and not showing much effort moving his feet in general. His mobility does lend itself well to pick and rolls, however, where he hedges very well and recovers adequately also, and theres probably good reason to believe he can be a much better man-to-man perimeter defender than he currently is, if he puts in the work on his fundamentals and lateral ability.
Monroe came into this season very out of shape, and thus took time to shed some of the extra weight he was carrying and get himself into optimal condition. For a player who already struggles with heavy feet and a general lack of athleticism, he cannot afford to give NBA scouts the impression that hes not working that hard in the summer.
Looking forward, while there are major concerns about projecting multiple aspects of Monroes game to the pros, his very high skill level, the learning curve from his freshman to sophomore year, his overall feel for the game, and his passing ability are all things teams will find very attractive. Its not a stretch to say that less athletic big men have certainly gone on to have great success in the pros, especially players like Monroe who have the size to play the center position. How Monroe adjusts his game to the higher level of competition in the pros will be critical, but his skill level has moved him up to the lottery on most peoples boards.