USA TODAY Sports
When will the Pistons start their two most talented big men side by side? Greg Monroe spoke with Vincent Goodwill about the adjustments he needs to make when playing power forward alongside Andre Drummond.
"It's definitely a difference on defense, especially for teams who might play small with a stretch-four," Monroe said. "On offense in our system, it isn't that big a difference, just subtle things. I have to space out more with Andre down there."
[...] "I'll have to pop a couple more times but it's not something I'm struggling with," Monroe said. "It's something more of an adjustment on defense.
"For two years, I'm playing the five and I'm used to rotations coming toward the basket. It's habits that were good (playing center) that can give other guys a couple (open) shots."
The pairing is obviously a work in progress. According to NBA.com/Stats, the two big men have shared the court for 190 minutes so far this season with a +5 plus/minus, allowing 355 points and giving up 350. (Incidentally, three of the top six pairings include Drummond, and another three include Austin Daye. Numbers, man.) It's encouraging, sure, but hardly domination. Monroe is confident they'll improve with time. From Pistons.com's Keith Langlois:
Frank has found ways to play Monroe and Drummond side by side in increasing doses as Drummond’s playing time has ticked up over the course of the season. Eventually, Monroe is prepared to spend the bulk of his time as a power forward while Drummond mans the middle defensively. Monroe likes the fit so far.
"Definitely," he said. "It’s still a long way to go to be really good. We have to spend more time together, but right now we’re starting to be really effective and as that time expands, we’ll be even better."
Lawrence Frank says he'll continue to view the matchups when deploying the two players. Again, from Goodwill:
"It depends on who the four is and not just that, the style of play," Frank said. "Those are areas, being a big guy all his life he's not used to guarding. It's going to take time.
"Guys that play traditional, which there aren't a lot of, the rotations are the same. He knows it, it's just an instinctive reaction and over time he'll get better and better with it."
Long story short: it'll probably take some time before we see these two side by side on a regular basis -- and even longer for the opening tip. But it's going to happen.