The Toronto Raptors have beautifully transformed their team into championship contenders. With the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, many believe the Raptors are a few pieces away from taking the fight to the Golden State Warriors. If the 2011 Dallas Mavericks have taught us anything, it’s that role players are crucial for any and every team. Toronto has evidently followed that philosophy by surrounding superstar Kawhi Leonard with a strong supporting cast. Newly signed center Greg Monroe will bring more to the team than front-court depth. A skilled big man, Monroe is a useful player who can thrive in the right situation. His acquisition is questionable but never the less without reason.
Free agent Greg Monroe has agreed to a deal with the Toronto Raptors, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 6, 2018
A Brief Biography:
An eight-year veteran, Greg Monroe was a lottery pick in the 2010 NBA draft. After spending his first 5 years with the Detroit Pistons, Monroe bounced around the league, playing for 3 teams in 4 years. Albeit averaging nearly a double-double in Detroit, Monroe’s production quickly fell off after leaving the Pistons. Once known as a strong inside presence, Monroe struggled after the move and never found his footing again. This may all seem discouraging, but Monroe has proven himself capable of being a strong role player. Throughout his stint with Milwaukee and Phoenix, Monroe managed to lead the team in points and rebounds in many games. He once scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while coming off the bench. More impressively, on April 6th, 2018, Monroe became the first Celtic to record a triple-double since Parish in 1987.
Conversely, signing Monroe has not addressed a major concern for the Toronto Raptors. With only Serge Ibaka left to defend the rim, Toronto’s lack of shot-blockers may prove itself a significant issue. Furthermore, Monroe’s skill set is identical to Jonas Valanciunas’s. Anything Monroe does, Valanciunas does better. Instead of addressing the only defensive concern Toronto had, the front office decided to bring in a downgraded clone.
To those who believe this foreshadows Valanciunas’s departure, you could not be more mistaken. Monroe will simply be the third-string center behind Serge Ibaka. Although a controversial signing, for Toronto’s sake, I hope it proves fruitful. Anyways, a clone would come in handy if Jonas were to come down with an injury. You may be dissatisfied with this signing but for a third-string center, Monroe is as good as it gets.
Image: Greg Monroe loses Jonas Valanciunas on a drive during game 3 of 2017 NBA finals (Morry Gash/AP)