Greg Monroe is yet another fundamentally sound big man to come out of Georgetown. A New Orleans native, Monroe has distinguished himself at the college level though his passing, fundamentals, and high basketball IQ. However, he's shown a lack of assertiveness on the offensive side and can't use his right hand effectively at all. He's a polished player, though, that is very likely to be an effective player at the NBA level. As a result, he's projected to go relatively high in the lottery, with almost all mock drafts having him being taken between numbers five and ten. If he falls to the eleventh place, the Hornets would be rather lucky to be able to pick him up.
Bio: Greg Monroe was born and raised in the New Orleans metro area - Harvey, Louisiana. Little is published about his life before high school, where he distinguished himself on the court, winning Louisiana Mr. Basketball in 2007. He led his high school, Helen Cox (school song: Hail to Thee, Helen Cox) to a number one ranking at the end of his junior year, but the team crashed out of the playoffs in the second round.
Monroe committed to Georgetown, where he garnered the Big East Rookie of the Year award. But his freshman season was still a bit iffy - critics said he wasn't assertive enough on the offensive side of the ball, and he was a mediocre defensive rebounder - 450th in the nation in defensive rebound rate. His sophomore year, by all accounts, was a marked improvement from his freshman year. His stats were better, and he looked more physically imposing in the low post.
Stats: The one skill that really jumps out on paper is Monroe's passing. In his sophomore season, Monroe averaged 4.4 assists per forty minutes, pace adjusted. And his freshman season showed the same promise - 3.5. Clearly, Monroe is an exceptional passing big man. In fact, his assist rate of 22.4% ranked him 338th in the country - and Monroe was a center. The other areas of his game look solid, but not exceptional - 11.3 Reb/40p, a 54.5% two-point field goal percentage, and 1.8 blocks/40p. Monroe turns the ball over at a good clip (3.9 TO/40p), but that's largely because the Georgetown offense completely ran through him - Monroe had a usage rate of 27.8 while playing 86% of Georgetown's minutes. He was the Georgetown offense. And given this high usage rate, he was still able to remain relatively efficient, posting an Offensive Rating of 106. Greg Monroe is also very good at getting to the line - he has a FTA/FGA ratio of 0.54. And he's good at converting his free throws, shooting at a 66% clip from the line. He has no real red flags statistically, but he's nothing spectacular outside of his passing.
Skills: In the case of Greg Monroe, the scouts and the stats agree. Draft Express says he makes a "variety of outstanding passes from the perimeter, high post, and low post, finding open shooters and slashers alike." Draft Express continues to claim that in his rookie year, Monroe will be an elite passer as a big man in the NBA. Monroe's fundamentals also stick out to scouts. He has great footwork, establishes position in the low post well, and always finds a way to get to the rim. He's left handed as well, which tends to throw off some defenders. However, all this masks a total absence of a right hand. If he is forced to his left shoulder in the post, Monroe suddenly becomes completely inefficient and tends to rely on a low percentage right-hand hook shot. His turnovers are also cited as a problem - when he's isolated and tries to drive with the ball, Monroe tends to turn the ball over at a very high rate, traveling often or simply losing control of the ball.
Defensively, Monroe is relatively solid. He uses his length well and forces a lot of bad shots in the post. He has become much more aware on the defensive end in his time at Georgetown, now making rotations efficiently and displaying a high basketball IQ. But on the perimeter, his lack of lateral quickness is quickly exposed, conceding position and being quickly beaten. However, he's still a very mobile big man, and can defend the pick and roll effectively.
Makeup: One of the big knocks on Monroe is that he wasn't assertive or committed enough in his early career at Georgetown. He came out of high school a bit overweight and tended to look listless and disinterested on the court during his freshman season. In the offseason, though, he worked hard to become more fit and wound up playing a ton of minutes for the Hoyas. And, by all accounts, his in-game intensity and assertiveness was greatly improved in his senior season. He has a relatively high body fat percentage (11.2%), which might be of concern for those that still question his dedication and fitness.
Overall: Monroe likely will be drafted somewhere between fifth and tenth, so the odds of him dropping to the Hornets are relatively low. But stranger things have happened. He would be an excellent fit for the Hornets' needs - a solid pick and roll defender that can make things happen in the post. He's athletic and mobile, and could be an excellent partner for Chris Paul on the offensive end. The only downside is that he might be most effective for a team without fantastic guard play, so his passing could be better exploited. If somebody can teach him to turn over his left shoulder in the post and get him to be able to use his right hand, he has the potential to turn in good production at the NBA level. And it would be great to be able to draft a New Orleans native.