Monroe finishes on high note


By Drew Packham

LAS VEGAS — Pistons rookie Greg Monroe saved his best for last.

Complete Summer League coverage on NBA.comAfter a slow start to his Summer League, Monroe left on a high.

“I just became more comfortable, settled in and got in the groove,” said Monroe, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Pistons fell 92-80 to the Raptors in their finale. “The main thing is I got better. …  I got more aggressive. I need to work on my rebounding and defensively I need to get better. But I think I’m leaving better than when I came in.”

Monroe, a 6-foot-11 center out of Georgetown known for his slick passing ability, fell to the Pistons at No. 7 in June’s Draft. Detroit’s Summer League coach, Pat Sullivan left smiling over Monroe’s improvement in the five-game period.

“I was just really impressed with the way he got better as the week progressed,” Sullivan said. “I think early on he was just trying to be a passer but as the week went on he was more aggressive trying to score the ball. Today, I thought you saw a variety of ways he can score. He was pushing the ball coast-to-coast, he was facing up and making jumpshots, he hit 15-footers, he got to the line, got to the basket. He did so many nice things scoring the ball. I think everyone knows what a good passer he is, I was just really impressed with the way he got stronger as the week went on. Usually it’s the other way around.”

Monroe started his time in Vegas slowly, scoring in double digits once in the Pistons’ first three games. In the final two, though, Monroe was more aggressive, tallying 20 points and six rebounds Wednesday followed by Friday’s impressive 27-point, 14-rebound finale.

“Every game I’m trying to be aggressive,” Monroe said. “It was just about me becoming comfortable and knowing how to pick my spots and make my plays.”

Teammate Jonas Jerebko, now in his second year, made a splash with the Pistons last season, earning second-team All-Rookie Team honors thanks in large part to his work ethic and aggressiveness.

“Greg’s a great pick for us,” Jerebko said. “Greg is a great passer and when you throw it in there, he’s gonna find you when you’re open and that’s something we really need. He’s definitely going to contribute.”

So what does Sullivan see for Monroe in his rookie season?

“Greg’s obviously a very, very skilled player,” Sullivan said. “Does he have a chance to be great? Absolutely.”

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