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Greg Monroe: Pistons lacked locker-room chemistry this season

Apr 17, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

Greg Monroe, Serge Ibaka Greg Monroe, Serge Ibaka

Greg Monroe has played for four coaches in four years. The man who drafted him, Joe Dumars, has been pushed out as general manager. In the Pistons’ best season with Monroe, they went 25-41.

Yet, through all the chaos, Monroe – a pending restricted free agent – has developed into a steady 15-9 player.

But that doesn’t mean he’s ignored the problems surrounding him.

David Mayo of MLive:

Monroe was asked if the Pistons had good locker-room chemistry this season, which ended Wednesday with a 112-111 loss at Oklahoma City.

“Honestly, I would say no,” he answered.

Pressed for what the problem was, Monroe retreated.

“I will answer the question,” he said, “but I wouldn’t go further than that.”

“I don’t really like to say things that are controversial, even though sometimes it may be needed,” he said.  “But I don’t think it’s beneficial.  I believe, as a team, we should be able to talk.  But in this platform, I don’t think some stuff should be said, even though some people always choose to do it.”

Monroe, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

“I’ve censored myself, just because of the whole, so much speculation and so much stuff going on,” Monroe said. “I just tried to make sure I was as productive as possible. That I kept a straight head and kept it as positive as possible.”

Earlier this season, Brandon Jennings said the Pistons don’t hold themselves accountable and implied Josh Smith didn’t speak up enough. Those two, who possess reputations for being moody, quite likely factor into the locker-room disharmony.

But whatever problems existed off the court, the Pistons had enough on-the-court issues to last a lifetime (not that the two are unrelated). Among teams actually vying for the playoffs this season, only the Lakers finished worse. Detroit couldn’t even catch the Knicks or Cavaliers.

The Pistons’ heavily used big-three lineup – featuring Smith, Monroe and Andre Drummond – never clicked. Jennings shot terribly, as did Smith. Few players showed sustained interest in defending.

Winning builds chemistry, and vice versa. The Pistons had neither, snowballing the negative effects of lacking both.

The Pistons have plenty of avenues to get better next season. Stagger the minutes of the bigs. Hire a new coach. Spend about $10 million in available cap room and then re-sign Monroe, who deserves a larger offensive role at the expense of Smith.

On-court play could improve quickly, and if it does, I suspect the locker-room chemistry will, too.

  1. sportsfan18 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    It was said in the article that Jennings shot terribly and so did Josh Smith.

    Let’s start with Jennings.

    In 3 of his 4 seasons in the league BEFORE coming to the Pistons, Jennings shot LESS than 40%. He career shooting percentage was BELOW 40%.

    Surprise, surprise, surprise! He AGAIN shot less than 40% from the field! Now he did shoot less than the season before but he did not shoot his worst percentage from the field in his career this past season either.

    He is and has been a TERRIBLE shooter and the Pistons HAD to know they were getting a TERRIBLE shooter.

    Now to Josh Smith.

    He DID fall off a cliff… guess he wanted to keep “up” with all the other “shooters” on the team…

    But Josh didn’t do that much worse from 3 pt range. How he takes that many threes every season while being so bad is beyond me.

  2. metrocritical - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    This whole mess could’ve been avoided if absentee owner Tom Gores would’ve done his due diligence during the transfer of ownership process. For all the good done by Joe D during the early part of his tenure, his performance was spiraling downward even before the death of Mr. Davidson. There was no legitimate, logically defensible reason for Gores to allow Dumars to have any part in selecting new coaches, free agents or trade prospects if ownership truly had a commitment to on court success. The Pistons had poor talent and worse chemistry when Gores bought the team. By allowing Dumars to further foul the chemistry with bizarre personnel maneuvers and foolish contracts, Gores set this franchise back 5 years and it was already 5 years back when he bought the team. Apparently, not everything Gores touches turns to platinum and it will take a lot more smarts and due diligence than shown to save this team from dissolving into pure excrement.

    • fredgb21 - Apr 19, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      I think you’re wrong on a lot. The contracts arnt the issue. Smith is worth every dime if he was in the right environment playing the right position. He cant be allowed to be a leader or go to guy, especially not at SF. There’s no reason Smith can’t play 30 mpg at PF. I find it hilarious that Bill Simmons cant write article after article about how bad Smiths contract and then admit out loud he’d be excited if his Celtics got Smith. You need bigs in the NBA, Smith just needs to be moved back and put in his place.. off the bench. He’d be the best big in the NBA off the bench and still get near start minutes. That would be huge.

      Jennings is an awful player and I think Dumars made that move with a (playoff) gun to his head. He knew this team lacked ball handling and thats the one area Jennings is superior to Knight. But it was a bad move, no doubt. But his contract is small, in a year he’ll be entering his expiring contract year. THis team has a lot of young talent and lots of good pieces. They will win a lot next year with just modest changes. I hope the new GM doesnt do anything dumb like trade a 23 yr old Monroe for 50 cents on the dollar to get an average SF. The only guy I want to maybe see traded, if he can’t refocus his game, is Jennings.

  3. 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    I respect Monroe for that.

  4. mortalkondek - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Makes sense. You have some pretty good individual players but an awful team without a leader. I thought Chauncey might be able to fill that void, at least off the court and into the locker room. Jennings can’t fill that role. Smith can’t fill that role. Can Andre Drummond?

  5. cbking05 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    No chemistry in the locker room…this is why you need a veteran like Jason Collins

  6. calkinsrob - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I respect the way he answered that question. Pistons better get it together. In a few years if not sooner Drummond and Monroe could be the best big man duo in the league. Maybe theyre too far gone after jennings and smith pickups. Do they have draft picks? or are they like the knicks?

    • borderline1988 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      This isn’t about chemistry, it’s about poor team construction.

      I’m a big believer in ‘hindsight is always 20/20’, but EVERYONE questioned the Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings signings in the off-season. I specifically remember thinking it was a stupid, stupid idea. Why on earth would you sign/trade for those guys when you have the best young frontcourt in the NBA? Why wouldn’t you build around Monroe & Drummond by bringing in players who pass the ball, shoot well from outside, and actually put some effort into perimeter defense?
      Instead you get low-efficiency volume shooters who don’t put in defensive effort.

      At this point, there’s a good chance Detroit will lose one of its 2 promising young bigs because of those moves last year. Joe Dumars is about as incompetent as a GM can get. He didn’t just ruin a team’s future, he ruined a promising team’s future.

  7. canadatude - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    The Raptors have a ton of chemistry for Greg Monroe. Come over and see what you can do with them. No sticky fingers on the ball and they need another big just like you. Greg playing with a young core of players like that would have great potential.

  8. freeworld - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    pistons playing him at 4 when he is better at the 5 spot. ..monroe to spurs in the summer

  9. bigmeechy74 - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    I’m shocked. I thought for sure the josh smith/brandon jennings duo would result in deep runs in the playoffs for years to come

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