Milwaukee Bucks: What Will Greg Monroe’s Role Be?

Mar 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) backs into Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) during the fourth quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons win 92-91. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) backs into Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) during the fourth quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons win 92-91. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Greg Monroe is still a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. With the season drawing near, how will the team utilize him if he remains in Milwaukee?

It’s about time we addressed the Moose in the room for the Milwaukee Bucks. With the NBA season drawing ever closer as the summer winds to an end, Greg Monroe is still a Buck.

Seeing as the trade market has been fairly dead outside of our old friend Kendall Marshall being moved around recently, it certainly seems possible that Monroe will still be in Milwaukee for the start of the regular season.

That’s awkward, but it happens. Last year Markieff Morris vocally wanted out of Phoenix, only to be kept around until the All-Star Break. Morris’ trade value was essentially zero before the season–after he proved he could still play he ended up netting the Suns a first round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

More from Bucks News

The Bucks doubtlessly hope something similar happens with Greg Monroe. Milwaukee could’ve easily offloaded him to a team like the Dallas Mavericks before they got Andrew Bogut if the team wasn’t interested in getting a real return. They are, so they held onto Monroe.

That charade can only last so long though, especially with the team owing huge money to him, Miles Plumlee and John Henson. The Bucks can get Monroe off their books by trading him this year before the deadline.

His value could still be small, considering Monroe will likely opt out of the next year on his deal and become a free agent after this season. Still, some playoff-bound team might want to take a chance on adding the Moose to bolster their odds of winning something substantial.

The Bucks best chance of getting a good return for Monroe is making him look good in the first half of the season. Contrary to how it sounds, the best way to do that might be bringing him off of the bench.

One of the better parallels for Monroe in the NBA is Enes Kanter. Kanter is also a dominant scoring center who can’t play defense, although he’s worse on the defensive end but better at rebounding than Monroe.

Kanter was shredded for his poor defense during the 2014-15 NBA season, when he started games for both the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. Then Billy Donovan moved him to a sixth man role last season, and he excelled.

Kanter scored and rebounded more per 36 minutes than he ever had before, and his domination of opposing bench bigs finally got people to shut up about his defense and respect the contributions that Kanter does make, instead of constantly harping on his shortcomings.

Imagine Monroe let loose against bench big men, with carefully selected lineups around him to maximize shooting. When one or both of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are getting a rest, the Bucks could surround Moose with shooters to open up space for him down low.

He wouldn’t get shredded on defense against reserve lineups, but he could probably score nearly at-will against a lot of them, especially with extra space to operate in. In much the same way his former teammate Andre Drummond is thriving in Detroit with four shooters and space to work, Greg Monroe could prove he’s still a dominant post player in Milwaukee.

More from Behind the Buck Pass

He just can’t do it with the starters. Giannis, Jabari and Monroe take up too much space and provide too little shooting for their offense to really run fluidly. But instead of the two young cornerstones, Monroe could find himself in lineups featuring other shooters like Khris Middleton, Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova, Jason Terry and Tyler Ennis (plus maybe Rashad Vaughn and Malcolm Brogdon).

With at least three of those guys on the floor plus one non-shooter in Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis or Jabari, Monroe could get the room he needs on the inside to wreck havoc.

Even if the Bucks don’t trade him, Monroe might just be better served playing as a bench player at this point. Zach Lowe agreed, in a piece he wrote earlier this summer on the Orlando Magic:

"The league has arrived at an interesting near-consensus that post-up brutes who struggle on defense work best as reserves. They don’t need studs to create shots, and first-line enemy offenses feast on them. It’s feasible that Al Jefferson,Greg Monroe, Jahlil Okafor, and Vucevic all spend time as reserves. Enes Kanter is already a backup, and the Grizzlies tried to coax Zach Randolph into that role last season. Some folks in Chicago privately wished they could convince Pau Gasol to live that bench life."

He doubtlessly wants to start–all NBA players do.

Next: Every Olympian In Milwaukee Bucks Franchise History

But both for the sake of the Milwaukee Bucks and for Greg Monroe’s own benefit, it might be best for him to play sixth man for this upcoming season.