New Season, New Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe looks a lot different this season. He lost about 15 lbs this summer, prompting someone to remark to Jon McGlocklin that he thought Monroe was Jabari Parker from a distance!
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He still isn’t the explosive leaper Jabari is, but skinny Monroe is a much more active player, especially on the defensive end. He’s still not good at help defense, but if a player drives towards him Monroe showed off a new skill on Saturday–the strip.
Moose racked up four steals, at least a couple of them coming on him simply taking the ball away from a player driving towards the rim. That’s important for a few reasons. The first is that any fast breaks are huge for the Bucks–with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari running the break, it’s nearly impossible to stop them.
Secondly, it shows that Monroe is working on finding ways around his inability to protect the rim. Monroe gets ragged on for not having the verticality to block shots, but if he can steal the ball before the offensive player gets a chance to raise it above his head then Monroe can still protect the rim, just in a less athletic manner.
He still won’t be finding himself on Defensive Player of the Year ballots, but Monroe might just become a key contributor for the Bucks going forward. If he stays this energized throughout the season it’ll be fascinating to see what he can do.