Big men who can play are coveted throughout the NBA. Coaches and GM’s dream of pulling their next decade center out of the lottery. When we are talking about a pivot man who can score and pass out of the post, provide solid defense and rebound at his position that is a near complete player.
One of the limited examples of this all-around package is the Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe. Since being picked seventh in the 2010 NBA draft the Georgetown product has been highly productive. In fact after just two months in The Association fans began to see the incredible versatility of the 6’11″ former All-American.
It took Monroe just 32 games to get out the rookie wrinkles. On January 4, 2011 against the Lakers he notched his first career double-double going 6-of-9 from the floor with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Monroe continued his superb play the rest of the way for the Pistons. Coach John Kuester had the good sense to get Monroe into the starting lineup at the expense of minutes for aging superstar Ben Wallace and former Maryland Terp’ Chris Wilcox. Their lottery pick proved up to the challenge.
In Detroit’s final 48 games of 2011 Monroe averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds to go along with 1.5 steals in 33 minutes/night. Plus he was highly efficient connecting on 59% of his shot attempts.
In his third season Monroe became an elite passing big man. 2013 saw him become just the third player in the NBA since the turn of the century to post a season of 15 PPG, 9 RPG, 3 APG and 100 steals. Since the late 90′s only Monroe, Kevin Garnett and Chris Webber have accomplished this feat.
Now Monroe is on his third NBA coach in three plus seasons. The talent around him has not been great and he is still just 23 years of age. Detroit failing to make the playoffs has not been due to Greg Monroe’s play. They should be thrilled to have him in the front-court alongside emerging star Andre Drummond.
Last night’s contest in Indianapolis featured a pair of pretty darn good point guards. The one loss Indiana Pacers clearly got the best of the .500 Minnesota Timberwolves 98-84 but the point guard match-up was intriguing.
Here are the PG centric stat lines for each:
Their passing, defending and ball control outputs were identical. The differences showed up in scoring/shooting and rebounding. Hill scored 26 points on only 13 shot attempts while Ricky had his usual challenges (7 points/9 shots). The T’Wolves guard did have a nice edge in rebounds, nine to Hill’s three.
Dallas Mavericks center Samuel Dalembert had another sweet stat line in their Friday night win against the Jazz.
- 8-for-8 shooting
- 18 points
- 12 rebounds
- 28 minutes
The big guy became the first player in the NBA this season to make all his field goal attempts in a game with a minimum of eight FGAs*. Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams were simply no match in the paint against Dalembert.
*Ironically Friday night also saw the only other player this year to make all of their shot attempts with a minimum of 7 FGAs, the Jazz Jeremy Evans accomplished this in the very same game!
You probably know about the trials and tribulations of Andrew Bynum. Since playing his last game with the Lakers eighteen months ago the former McDonald’s All American has played a total of nine NBA games.
Bynum has made a total of 18 field goals in the last 18 months. Enough said on that front.
On the plus side Andrew Bynum leads the 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers with eleven shots blocked. The big man’s block percentage is a career high 6.1%.
In addition he has made two free throws/game and is connecting on 90% of his foul shots.
James Anderson was a second team All-American for the Oklahoma State Cowboys back in 2010. During his junior year in the Big Twelve Anderson dropped 22 points a night to go along with 6 rebounds.
I saw him play in person against Avery Bradley and the Texas Longhorns that year and he showed legit NBA talent. Anderson looked to be a few years away from a sixth man on an average pro team. When the Spurs chose him with the 20th pick in the draft that June it sounded right to me.
After three NBA seasons Anderson averaged only 39 games per year while on the floor just 11 minutes/night. Further he had been waived by three teams in less than two years coming into this season. It looked like he was going to be another excellent college player who never panned out in The Association.
That was until the Philadelphia 76′ers “decided to tank” this year. They dropped $1.9 million on James Anderson this summer in return for 164 games from the former first round pick.
Then things got really good for J.A. when Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets came to town this week. The guy had played 124 games without scoring twenty points so I wouldn’t expect Kevin McHale and Dwight Howard to game plan around Anderson. Through they should have.
James Anderson dropped 36 points on Houston in an OT win for the now 5-4 76′ers. He shot an outstanding 12-of-16 from the floor and committed zero turnovers in 44 minutes. Nice game James!
New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis had a crazy awesome game Saturday night. Isolating only his offensive performance proves he had a great night. Davis scored 25 points on 13 shot attempts during the Pelicans blowout of the Charlotte Bobcats.
As good as he was shooting, the number one pick in the 2012 NBA draft was even better on defense. In 37 minutes Davis compiled 6 steals and 6 blocks. As you can guess this is a very rare feat. The Basketball-Reference.com database includes all NBA games since Karl Malone entered The Association. It claims this was only the fourth time any player went for six steals and six blocks.
Davis being a few months shy of his twenty-first birthday is by far the youngest player to go 6/6. The second youngest is Hakeem Olajuwon who was 24 back in March of 1987. Hakeem went for an outrageous 38 points, 17 rebounds, 12 blocks and 7 steals in a Rockets loss to the Tom Chambers led SuperSonics that night.
Besides Anthony Davis and Olajuwon the only other two guys to go 6/6 are David Robinson and Andrei Kirilenko. All four players accomplished the feat just one time. What are the odds Davis goes crazy on defense again before his career is through?
With the official retirement of Allen Iverson I thought it worth a look back at his draft class. The 1996 NBA draft was absolutely stacked. Iverson was one of eleven 10,000 point scorers in his class. He was second among his own class in career scoring with 24,368 NBA points scored. First would be prep-to-pro shooting guard Kobe Bryant.
For comparison, the ’95 and ’97 drafts had a combined eleven players who would go on to score over 10,000 points in their NBA careers. Iverson, the top overall pick in 1996, ranks only fourth in the class in career assists (6 assists/game). Steve Nash, Stephon Marbury and Kobe all had more assists than Iverson.
The least valuable player among the top six picks in the ’96 draft was Kentucky stand-out Antoine Walker. Walker went on to be a three-time All-Star pick and starter on the 2006 Miami Heat championship team.
In addition to the top six picks I would argue that nine players drafted became at least good NBA players. The worst of these fifteen guys was either Walker or Jerome Williams. Not too shabby considering Williams led the NBA in Offensive Rebound Percentage in ’99 & 2000.
Allen Iverson is viewed as an obvious hall-of-fame choice. As much as I liked AI as a player I’m not totally convinced of it. He does have four scoring titles plus two seasons as the NBA leader in steals. Also, he and Larry Brown dragged a ’01 76ers team to the NBA finals despite starting Aaron McKie and Eric Snow alongside Iverson.
OK, maybe I can talk myself into his HOF case. We are going to need a further deep dive into the topic.