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Pistons news roundup: Greg Monroe's defense, Tom Gores' vision and a rumor mill update

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This fifth edition of Pistons News Roundup looks into Greg Monroe's defense, Gores' vision for the Pistons and another update from the rumor mill.

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Greg Monroe an underrated defender

Slow-footed. Not athletic enough. Poor defensive awareness. Below-average shot blocker. Greg Monroe has heard it all before. Even when he was playing college hoops, the New Orleans native was already well aware of what was being said of his defensive ability. Since his arrival in the NBA, the soft spoken center has shed a few of the negative tags that followed him into the League, and built upon his tantalizing offensive skill set. However, five years into his career, questions are still being asked about his seeming lack of defensive skills, but his new coach wants to set the record straight, per The Detroit News' Vincent Goodwill:

"I think Greg's actually pretty good defensively," Van Gundy said. "I've thought that all year. He's a very good low post defender, in my opinion. And he's a smart defender. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes [...] His mental approach and ability makes him a solid defender."

Although he is somewhat slow-footed, Monroe, like the Moose, is a solid and wide player, who doesn't often get beat on the low block - due mostly to his positioning. Whilst he doesn't block many shots (0.6 BPG for his career), he has quick hands and looks to strip opponents when they drive to the basket, evident in his 1.6 steals per game. Defensive basketball IQ and positioning are hard statistics to quantify, Monroe has often been relied on to guard opposing centers when Andre is unable to. The 24 year-old Georgetown product knows he lacks the athleticism to soar above the rim and swat shots, but relies on his positioning, size and his knowledge of his opponents to keep players away from their favorite scoring areas.

Grantland's Zach Lowe, like Van Gundy, also praised the bigman's defensive energy, pointing out that Monroe is an especially good pick-and-roll defender. Greg has a career 106 Defensive Rating. For comparison, fellow Pistons Andre Drummond and Joel Anthony boast ratings of 102 and 104 respectively, while last year's Defensive Player of the Year, Joakim Noah defended his way to a 96 rating.  If those numbers prove anything, it is that Monroe isn't a total defensive liability as some would lead you to believe, but an  unheralded defender who knows how to hold his ground.

Tom Gores' vision coming to fruition

Since taking over as the Pistons' owner in 2011, Gores has poured in over a 100 Million dollars into the Palace of Auburn Hills alone, improving the team facilities as well as the paying public's environment. The only thing that didn't follow the Palace's makeover was the team itself. Before hiring Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons stumbled to three consecutive sub-30 win seasons with three different coaches at the helm. Gores took his first big decision as an owner when he decided not to renew Joe Dumars' contract, his second was hiring Van Gundy to assume the roles of General Manager and Head Coach, by which "the linking of the front office to the floor was established". His biggest decision however, came on Dec 22 when he decided to bite the bullet and waive the highest-paid player in team history. Since then, neither he nor the team has looked back.

Gores points to his comfortable relationship with Van Gundy for the team's success, both communicate openly about the team's struggles and successes, and Tom has on more than one occasion lauded the heralded Coach, who has also reciprocated the adulation. In an interview with Pistons.com's Keith Langlois, Gores explained that the shared vision and mutual interest in the team's welfare with Stan are the driving force that have led to the squad's current, and hopefully future, success.

Piston fans are lucky to have not only an engaged and willing owner, but an experienced and talented Front Office that has lifted this team to heights we haven't experienced since the Going to Work Era. The Pistons started this season 5-23, and yet they have received more support from the fans than they have in the past six years, all thanks to Gores and Van Gundy. The Back to Work Pistons have started their tenure in Detroit, and they sure look like they mean to take the League by storm.

Trade Watch Bullets

It has been a huge week in terms of Pistons rumors due to the loss of Brandon Jennings to a ruptured Achilles tendon. With the Pistons linked to various teams and players, it can get confusing what is outright speculation or actual rumors, luckily, we at Detroit Bad Boys have got you covered:

  • Stan Van Gundy said that he wouldn't sacrifice the team's current or future assets to add to the PG depth, which DBB's Sean Corp covered here, along with a list of potential targets that could be on the Pistons' radar.
  • New York's Pablo Prigioni was rumored to be on the Pistons' trade radar, which DBB covered here. Sports World Report's Lauren Moranor believes a second-round pick could be all that is needed to land the 37 year-old Argentine.
  • Between the Pistons' trade partners playing hardball, and the team's stance on not trading away assets, the D-League looked more and more promising as potential trades seemed to be drying up, you can read all about Detroit's trade market struggles here.
As for other rumors that have been floating around the Mill:
  • In an interview between Sportando's A Ferrari, and Vanoli Cremona's GM, Andrea Conti, a question arose regarding Cremona's interest in Luigi Datome. The Italian General Manager was non-commital is his response, pointing to the Forward's current contract with the Pistons. With the trade deadline looming and Datome on the block, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume he could be bought out if he is still in a Pistons' jersey come March.
  • The Pistons and a number of other teams reached out to Forward DJ Kennedy according to Shams Charania from RealGM. Kennedy will only be available to sign with an NBA team during the 2015 offseason as he has no buyout agreement with his current team in Germany.
  • Fox Sports' Sam Amico believes the Pistons could reach out to a number of players to help shore up the PG position. Amico points to Nolan Smith, Marquis Teague, Jordan Farmar and Peyton Siva as potential targets.

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