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Is Monroe better than Vucevic?

Very similar IMO. Except Vucevic gets to play C and he is probably a better defender.

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Maybe a little better defensively, Monroe might be a little better offensively though(20 TS% points). Not a ton. Either way, it sets a baseline IMO. Monroe shouldn't get more than the Vucevic/Faried types.

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I'll take Vucevic, especially at that price, over Monroe. Nic has better range and has shown growth at the charity stripe.

I think has been widely perceived that Monroe has room to grow into a 20/10 guy, a view I have never shared. Monroe passes well, but also turns the ball over a fair amount.

Monroe as a max-player/near-max, and not being a two-way player, is just something that should never happen.

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I don't think Vucevic is all that special as a defender. I'm not sure him and Monroe, as Centers are separated by much on that end.

ESPN had Monroe as worth twice the WAR last year. Had to throw that out there.

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I thought this line was interesting - esp coming from an agent.

Do you want to be the star on a rebuilding team or do you want to be a complementary player on a championship team? Those are all intangibles."

Does this mean there is no pretension in the Monroe camp of being a star on a championship team? This should certainly not be news, but still not something I expected to hear an agent put quite so honestly!

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Well if he does want to go we could still sign and trade him... I would gladly take Ryan Anderson back from NOLA

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What's been bothering me is that we're supposed to have one of the best young big man tandems in the league. Yet, when I watch games I just don't feel that way. Sure, our bigs rack up the stats, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but are they coming out on top of the nightly matchups? If we're going to spend half our cap space on our frontcourt for the building block of the future, shouldn't we be dominating that matchup on a nightly basis?

I decided to go back and look at the February games...

For each of these I made a call as to whether or not we lost, won, or tied the big man battle.

Tie: WAS (Gortat/Nene) 15-26 for 37 pts vs DET 13-23 for 34

Tie: NYK (Amundson/Bargnani) 18-36 for 42 pts vs DET 18-24 for 49

Lost: CLE (Love/Mozgov) 13-22 for 38 pts vs DET 12-27 for 29

Tie: WAS (Nene/Gortat) 14-28 for 28 (+ Humphries 5-6 for 11) vs DET 14-27 for 33

Won: CHI (Gasol/Noah) 8-18 for 22 (+ Gibson 7-13 for 15) vs DET 16-32 for 38

Lost: SAS (Duncan/Baynes) 10-15 for 20 vs DET 7-20 for 16

Won: CHA (Zeller/Jefferson) 9-22 for 21 vs DET 16-29 for 37

Lost: MIN (Young/Pekovic) 15-23 for 45 (Pek went to the line 12 times) vs DET 13-19 for 32

Won: DEN (Faried/Nurkic) 5-15 for 16 vs DET 13-26 for 34

Tie: IND (West/Hibbert) 15-22 for 30 vs 16-30 for 34

Lost: MIA (Bosh/Whiteside) 19-35 for 45 (+ Anderson 5-7 for 12) vs DET 12-22 for 26

Most were pretty clear cut. The SA game was a question of efficiency with our bigs getting only 16 pts on 35% while theirs got 20 on 67% shooting. You could argue that we won the NYK matchup, but it was pretty close and their bigs won it in the clutch. You could also argue that Humphries pushes Washington to a win by going 5-6 for 11 and Gibson pushes the Chicago matchup to a tie, but I left those as footnotes instead since they were bench players.

So, what did I learn from the numbers? It's a wash. We win, lose, and tie the big man battle about an even number of times for each. You could even argue that we've lost more often than we've won that battle but I don't want to be picky about one or two determinations from the above stats.

The point is that if this is going to be the strength of your team, the area where you're going to choose to invest a ton of your money, then you better dominate and we clearly don't. Opposing big men are very efficient against us and win that battle just as often as we do. That makes us average at the position. That's a huge red flag for me when it comes decision time this off-season. Why would we spend so much money to continue to be average?

A quick look at their defensive stats proves this out as well...

Monroe is +0.4

Drummond is + 1.3

Positive numbers are bad. It means that these two give up better than average FG% to the people they're guarding against on a nightly basis. You're going to struggle in the playoffs if that's your paint defense. Especially if that's where you've spent most of your dollars since you'll have shortcomings elsewhere and you'll be counting on your big salary areas to make up for the areas where you've had to spend less.

More discussion...

Obviously Drummond and Monroe do a lot of good things otherwise they wouldn't be loading the stat sheets with points and rebounds. My issue is whether or not they do those things well enough to build a championship contender. We've already established that they're mediocre defensively which is a huge problem for me, but what about the rest?

Drummond's greatest strength is offensive rebounding/putbacks. That's great, but you aren't getting that stuff in a grinding playoff game. Contending teams box out. You need strong defensive rebounding, efficient half court offense, and strong paint defense. He's becoming a better than average defensive rebounder, but I'm just not seeing the rest of the championship package from him, especially on the defensive end. The positive here is that he's still very young and most people think he can become a better defender. Of course, there's also the camp that feels that defense is instinct and effort and that Drummond has some issues with both of these.

As for Monroe, his greatest strengths are on the block offensively, but he's not really an efficient scorer. A TS% of 54 isn't all that good for a Center in this league. In fact, sorting the stats on NBA.com for guys who've played more than 25 games at that position and he's 43rd out of 85. Average at best. He's a solid rebounder, but not outstanding - about middle of the pack percentage-wise. He's clearly not a plus defender and he's especially poor at defending the screen and rotating on defense which is critical for defending the half-court playoff offenses (especially from the PF position).

This is what's driving me nuts about this tandem. Individually they're solid players and they're assets that certainly shouldn't be given away, but they're also odd players in that their strongest talents are not really in the areas I'd want for a championship caliber frontcourt that will take half of our cap space. Certainly not when you add them together because it just makes those defensive weaknesses even more glaring. Combine that with the fact that we're now talking about investing in Reggie and you can add spacing issues on the offensive end to the mix. I just don't see it as a winning combo.

Clearly I'm not a fan of keeping them both, but the bigger burning question in my mind is which one do you keep? I'm not sure I've made up my mind. Maybe you keep Andre based upon his youth, current salary, and potential for positive defensive play, but he's also the one that gives you the best chance to bring back an all-star caliber wing in a trade.

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I'd match what other teams can pay Monroe. Hope we don't have to go beyond that.

I was reading that a max deal this year is going to look cheap compared to a max deal after the league renegotiates new tv deal. Maybe everyone knew that. I didn't.

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Not a huge difference. Per game his scoring is up almost 2 points. But that can be attributed to more minutes and more shots. Per/100 his scoring is up only .1 points. Rebounding is up big, as are steals and blocks. His OffRtg, DefRtg, and NetRtg are all improved.

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