Monroe, Drummond Forming Dynamic Duo
After selecting Andre Drummond in this year’s draft, the Detroit Pistons had a potential log-jam at the center position. Just two years earlier they had selected Greg Monroe. Both players have shown that they deserve to be starters in this league and rather trading one of them, the Pistons opted to move Monroe over to power forward, hoping that the two can player together.
“We’ve put Greg in a situation where he’s playing a different position than he’s used to,” Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank said. “He’s responded very positively and we just want him to continue to progress in these last 16 quarters of basketball.”
Hall of Famers like Karl Malone and Charles Barkley dominated the power forward spot by providing muscle down low. Now, players like Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Bosh have revolutionized the position and stretch fours are showing up around the league.
“The game over the last four or five years has changed a little bit in terms of the word power forward,” Frank said. “You hear teams call these guys ‘range shooting fours’ instead of ‘power forwards.’”
At 6’11 and 250 lbs, Monroe is deceptively quick. Frank believes that in time Monroe can thrive at the four, regardless of what teams throw at him.
“Greg’s ability, with his size and skill level, to put the ball on the floor and make decisions is critical,” Frank said. “His low-post game continues to expand and he’s continuing to gain more and more confidence in his 15-foot jump shot. Defensively, when you look at the last 10 to 12 games, he’s had some really good individual defensive challenges that he’s responded to.”
While Monroe has found his transition to a new position easy, Drummond’s rookie season has been rocky due to a back injury that kept him out of 22 games earlier in the season. Drummond continues to stay positive, knowing that if he continues to progress, the future will be very bright for him and his teammates.
“I’ve shown what I’m capable of becoming,” Drummond said. “My job on this team is to play defense, block shots, grab rebounds and run the floor. I think this summer is going to be a big summer for me in terms of getting better and working on the little things in my game.
“I just want to continue to move forward and become a great player in this league. I want to work on my free throws, my post moves and the jump shot is something that I am definitely hoping to develop as well. I’m going to focus on the little things and when the time is right, I’ll focus on everything else.”
Although Drummond and Monroe are similar in size, Drummond insists that their games are radically different.
“I do all the dirty work,” Drummond said. “Greg is the fundamental guy. He has the ability to hit the jump shot and he can pass the ball really well. He does all the active stuff and I clean up around the rim. We complement each other and for me, the game is easier when he’s out there.”
Monroe has been impressed with what Drummond has been able to do in such a short amount of time in the NBA. Although he agrees with Drummond about them being different players, he also sees similarities in their games.
“Andre is someone who’s very comfortable around the rim,” Monroe said. “He can run the floor and he’s a better passer than people give him credit for. I think both of us are pretty unselfish and we both have a ton of room for growth moving forward.”
Coach Frank insists that although they have to continue to work on their individual games, it’s also important for them to continue to progress as a unit.
“It’s vital that they continue to learn from each other,” Frank said. “They’re different players and they offer us different things. We just want to keep putting them in as many situations together as we possibly can.”
Another key component to the Pistons’ success moving forward is second-year guard Brandon Knight. Knight knows the importance of having reliable big men, even as the league continues to get smaller and quicker.
“Since Andre has come back from his injury, he and Greg have begun to really gel,” Knight told HOOPSWORLD. “I think they just need some time to figure each other’s games out and then they could turn into a lethal frontcourt for us in the future. They’re both competitors. They want to be out there during crunch time and I think both of them are key to what we’re trying to do moving forward.”
Knight knows that in order to be an elite team in the NBA, you have to be consistent. Although the Pistons will miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, Knight insists the future looks very bright for his team.
“We have the pieces,” Knight said. “But the great teams don’t take nights off. We have stretches where we play really well, compete and put ourselves in position to win games and then we go through stretches where we don’t really compete that hard. We need to find a way to be consistent throughout the entire season. It’s just going to come down to us working over the summer. Hopefully next year we’ll make a run for the playoffs.”