Written by Tom McCabe (@tmccabe11)
When we think back on the summer of 2018 for the Toronto Raptors, virtually nobody will immediately recall the signing of Greg Monroe. The Kawhi Leonard for Demar Derozan shadow will be a tad larger, as will the shadow left by the coach of the year who lost his job. Monroe’s immediate impact will be an afterthought as soon as Kawhi ties his shoes in Toronto for the first time; nonetheless, it’s worth examining the addition of the 28-year-old big man. Thus, I present you with both sides of the $2.2 million Greg Monroe coin.
Why It Makes Sense
By first judgement, it’s not too difficult to talk yourself into liking this signing. After the departure of promising center Jakob Poeltl, the Raptors replaced him with a serviceable center who was fairly productive off the bench for a very good Boston Celtics team last season (Monroe split last season between Milwaukee, Phoenix and Boston). Monroe averaged 19 minutes and 10.2 points per game during his stint as a Celtic, while also seeing the floor in 11 playoff games, albeit at a less productive level (15.9 PER, which translates to very average). Monroe adds to an already deep bench, and serves as an insurance big man should JV, Serge Ibaka or Pascal Siakam get injured. Sure, his minutes may be marginal, but I’d much rather see Greg Monroe as the last man off the bench than Jared Sullinger (nothing personal Sully).
Additionally, since it is no longer the summer of 2016, the Raptors were able to snag Monroe for the veteran minimum. It’s a minimal dent to the payroll that adds some depth in the paint while also turning him into a very cheap asset come the trade deadline (I’m not an economist by any standard, but I hear cheap is good).
This summer, centers DeMarcus Cousins, Brook Lopez, Nerlens Noel, Greg Monroe and JaVale McGee have signed for a combined total of:
In 2016, Timofey Mozgov, Joakim Noah, Ian Mahimi, Meyers Leonard, Bismack Biyomobo & Miles Plumlee signed for a total of:
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) August 6, 2018
A few takeaways from this tweet:
- Beer is a hilarious last name…..”Hello, I’m Mr.Beer”
- 2016 was a messed up for a few reasons, but the most messed up was giving Ian Mahimi a $64 million dollar deal.
- It is no longer a great time to be alive for an aging, oldschool-style, NBA center.
Regardless of Monroe’s contributions as a Raptor, you have to be optimistic considering that Monroe averaged over double the amount of points than Mahimi did last season, and he will be getting paid almost $13 million less than Mahimi this year. Ian’s agent is the true Wizard.
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense
Ok, time to flip the switch and play devil’s advocate. Signing Greg Monroe makes zero sense! What is Masai thinking? First he ships away a promising center who fits into the modern NBA and in return we get a man who’s literally been nicknamed the dinosaur?? Well, at least the punishment fits the crime*.
*Yes, I know his true nickname has become the moose. Very fitting playing in Canada. But for the sake of playing devil’s advocate I shall refer to him as dinosaur because a) he moves like that on defense and b) the reddit thread convinced me he is a true dinosaur in human form.
Taking on Monroe is tough. Not only has he never made a three-pointer as a NBA player, the guy is at best a turnstile on defense, especially on the pick and roll. Just when the Raptors were forming a young, deep core on the perimeter and in the paint, Masai went ahead and screwed it up for all of us by trading away the majestic and blossoming Jakob Poeltl. I mean, Monroe was passed on by not one but two NBA teams last year. It’s very doubtful Monroe sees the floor in meaningful moments, and the Raptors are still somewhat in need of solid defenders off the bench (something Greg Monroe is not). While he may have come cheap, it would have been more beneficial to stock up on another wing who can defend and shoot some 3’s. Can I interest you in the still available Rodney Hood? Sure, he refused to play against the Raptors during the playoffs and is somewhat a mirror image of current Raptor C.J Miles; but in the 2018 NBA, you can never have too many wings that know how to shoot the 3 ball and play defense. At best, Monroe collects some garbage minutes off the bench and utilizes his dinosaur nickname to brand some nifty t-shirts. At worst, he takes up a roster spot that would be better used by finding someone quicker, who knows how to defend and will at least attempt to shoot from downtown. But hey, this is why I type from an armchair and not an executive office.
Well, there ya have it folks. It’s tiring playing on both sides of the fence, but hey someones gotta do it. Like I said, years from now I doubt many people will remember that Greg Monroe was even a Raptor until they pull out their t-shirt with Monroe’s head on a Raptor body out of the bottom drawer. We’ll likely only see Greg for a season, maybe less. Then again, the same may be said for the biggest trade acquisition in franchise history…so it’s worth thinking about.