So we all know he's not a good rim protector. I thought I'd compile quotes and numbers that I've seen in various places re: his defense overall, and especially non-rim-protection aspects, to see what's up.
The TL DR version is that he's a reverse amare: no athleticism, uses his brain and positioning a ton, can't block so gets alot of swipes/steals, doesnt allow 2nd chances for offense by getting boards. The other conclusion is that his offense, which is close to elite when he plays the 5 and has decent spacing, will absolutely outweigh his defensive shortcomings.
Questions I still have: I couldn't find a way to look at split stats showing his defensive #s with him at the 5, or with him on the floor without Drummond and Smith. anyone know public sites that let you do that?
from Lowe, last yr, with some interesting bits about defense:
"Monroe is playing the best all-around ball of his career and deserves stronger All-Star consideration than he appears to have received. He has outplayed Drummond for the balance of the season, and he’s working harder than ever on defense — at both big-man positions. When Detroit took off without Josh Smith, we all (justifiably) focused on the power of positioning three shooters around a pick-and-roll — something Stan Van Gundy can do only when he sits one of the Drummond-Monroe combination. Monroe is beasting in the post, dishing snappy interior passes, and making smart reads on defense. He’ll never be a rim protector, but opposing ball handlers are shooting just 38.5 percent on pick-and-rolls in which Monroe’s man is the screener — a strong number, per Synergy. The roster weirdness that undid the Smith-era Pistons hurts Monroe’s All-Star case just enough to open up a spot for someone else."
from a pistons blog
"Although he is somewhat slow-footed, Monroe, like the Moose, is a solid and wide player, who doesn’t often get beat on the low block – due mostly to his positioning. Whilst he doesn’t block many shots (0.6 BPG for his career), he has quick hands and looks to strip opponents when they drive to the basket, evident in his 1.6 steals per game. Defensive basketball IQ and positioning are hard statistics to quantify, Monroe has often been relied on to guard opposing centers when Andre is unable to. "
those are bit of a mix of anecdote and #, here is some more pure number stuff:
"his real plus minus and WAR were both better than Drummond last year. For PFs he was roughly 12th in the league for both RPM and WAR. On top of that most of his positive RPM was due to defense – was actually 11th in the league as far as PFs in terms of defensive RPM. Overall (all positions) he was 41st in RPM, ahead of defensive rep guys like Joakim Noah, Favors, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Asik, Horford"
[let the record show that I am still suspect of RPM ]
from a Pelicans blog (some were advocating going for him this yr to pair with Ant, + letting Asik go...Monroe is from Louisiana):
"First, I want to look at the publicly available numbers. As Lowe states, Monroe is no rim protector despite his size and length.
|Defense: NBA Stats ||FGA at Rim ||FG% at Rim ||REB% per Opp ||Contest REB% ||PER Allowed ||Total D ||Total D Poss
The last two columns are from Synergy, and they tell a very interesting story. Monroe is actually a "better" defender than Asik has been this season, on roughly the same number of possessions
|Defense: Synergy ||P&R - Ball ||Poss ||Post Up ||Poss ||Isolation ||Poss ||Spot Up ||Poss ||P&R - Roll ||Poss
While Monroe also outpaces Asik defending post ups it is important to note that Monroe rarely receives the task of guarding the most dangerous post player. Asik is the designated stopper to protect Anthony Davis, Monroe lines up beside an even bigger man in Andre Drummond. All other areas Asik far outpaces Monroe. Spot Up could be slightly misleading, as Monroe must chase stretch fours while Asik rarely defends shooting threats.
Combining the pick and roll ball handler and pick and roll roll man evens the scales slightly. On a total of 266 possessions Monroe has allowed 0.733 points per possession. Asik, defending 287 such possessions, allows a higher success rate at 0.864. The big area where Monroe makes the difference is turnovers; Monroe has forced 53 turnovers in 266 possessions (19.9%) while Asik has forced just 34 (11.8%)."
from a Celtics blog:
"One really good measure of a player's defense is the comparison of Defended Field Goal percentage (DFG%) and FG%, which measures how the opponent against the player in question shoots vs. how he does in general. Monroe's assignments shot 60% from less than 6 ft. on average against other players last year. When Monroe defended them, that number was 60.1%. Yep, that's a 0.1 percentage point difference, which is as negligible as one can get statistically. Monroe fared a bit worse when the opponents were farther away from the basket (0.9 percentage points worse from less than 10 ft., 0.5 worse from less than 15 ft.), but in general he in no way offered those players an open house.
Another useful piece of statistics is Opponent Points in the Paint (Opp PITP), which I think is self explanatory. Monroe allowed 33.6 Opp PITP per 36 minutes, which is not a great number as he ranks really low among fellow centers in the league. However, his numbers were still better than or very close to Celtics players like Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller, or other potential green targets such as Nikola Pekovic, Robin Lopez and Omer Asik. Again, this stat is not necessarily meaningful because paint defense is not solely the center's responsibility -and it actually paints Anthony Davis as one of the worst defenders in the league which is obviously not true."
Re Rebounding: Monroe’s Reb % jumped to 20.4 with Drummond off the floor. pretty damn good, but we knew that.
Re: anecdotal evidence that his def improved last yr: his DRTG went from 108 (bad) in 13-14 to 103 (ok) in 14-15