LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan have been the most pursued big men in the NBA this offseason. Both have been taking meetings with many teams and have had contracts thrown at them right and left. But the other big man that some forget about is former Detroit Piston Greg Monroe. The big man out of Georgetown has been with Detroit for all of his career and has been very solid there. But he seemed just a little bit out of place playing beside Andre Drummond and it was assumed he would find a new home in free agency this summer. The question mark to some would be where would he land? The Knicks and Lakers were making overtures for his services and there were others like the Portland Trailblazers that were looking to add him as well. But neither of these teams landed the services of Monroe in the end. The team he chose was one that many thought he would not go to. The Milwaukee Bucks and Monroe have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $50 million max deal (opt out option after the second year) to bring his talents to a young team on the rise. Some feel they may have overpaid for his services, but it feels a need for them that they had.
Some may question why he is even going to this team. But if you look at the Bucks’ roster, they are definitely the right fit for him. The Bucks have athletic wings and with Jabari Parker returning next season, the scoring punch would be added that much more to that group. Looking the lineup they could roll out there next season, they could have Parker along with Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Monroe to roll out every game. With a few things added to their bench, this team could be one to watch for in the East. The addition of Monroe helps the Bucks with post scoring tremendously. Monroe averaged 16 points per game when in a congested paint situation with Andre Drummond, so imaging what he will be able to do with more space to operate with the Bucks. Looking at the Bucks last year, they had the ability to defend anyone with their length, but they also had issues scoring. With Monroe there along with the return of Jabari Parker from injury, the Bucks now have some more consistent scoring. And if that defense, led by Antetokounmpo, stays at the same level, then the Bucks will be in a lot more games when it counts in the playoffs. Scenes like what happened in Game 6 of the 1st round against the Bulls would be something that should not happen with the offense the Bucks will be able to put out there on the court.
But along with the scoring that Monroe offers, he will also be another guy who can clean the glass for Milwaukee. Monroe averaged a double-double in points and rebounds last season. Imagine him being able to grab a rebound and pitch it ahead to players like Antetokounmpo and Carter-Williams. The thought of the things the fast break for the Bucks could do are something that only dreams are made of. And with the shooters they have like Khris Middleton, OJ Mayo and rookie Rashad Vaughn, the Bucks can make teams pay in all aspects, not just at the rim like they did last season. The Bucks got inconsistent rebounding and performance from their centers last season. One thing that you cannot question about Monroe is his rebounding. That performance will be something that is consistent at all times from him. And even though he does not block shots, he can use his positioning and strength to root out opponents and clean the glass. After all, he has Antetokounmpo to help him out with the shot-blocking with his tremendous athletic ability.
This move makes Monroe a rich man, but it also helps the Bucks heading into the next two offseasons as well. The Bucks will have more salary cap room next year due to the jump in the cap. That will allow them to add more players to contribute to what they do after they are able to see all their pieces together this season. With Monroe in the fold, the Bucks may not be in need of much else, but that will reveal itself over time. But the biggest thing the Bucks have to think about is Giannis Antetokounmpo, better known as The Greek Freak. He is coming close to being ready for an extension with the team. He is one of the most versatile players in the NBA at 6’10”. He can pass, dribble and guard anyone on the court. With a little more work on his shooting, he will be one of the best players in the NBA potentially. And with the prices escalating for players and their worth, he will command a huge salary. With Monroe only signing a short deal, it allows the Bucks to be able to sign Antetokounmpo to a max deal that he will probably be getting at that time. And along with that, the Bucks will have enough room to sign back Monroe should he opt out and want a new deal in two years when the salary cap is astronomical. Antetokounmpo is a huge part of what the Bucks do and they do not want to let him get away.
The Bucks made a smart move and a necessary move for their franchise. And going into a new arena soon, they need to keep the buzz around their team at a high level. Adding Monroe and adding him at a short deal is something that will not only benefit their team on the court but off it as well. The Bucks now look like a team that is ready to make some things happen after their taste of playoff experience. And with Monroe there, the future looks very bright.