Pregame Post-Ups: Monroe Returns, Hopes to Help Prepare C's for Playoffs
Sunday, March 24 - Spurs at Celtics
Pregame – Monroe Returns, Hopes to Help Prepare C’s for Playoffs
BOSTON – His stay in Boston last spring was brief, but Greg Monroe’s veteran presence was one that Brad Stevens believed had a great impact on the young, 2017-18 Celtics roster. That’s why the C’s coach was elated to see the 6-foot-11 big man return to TD Garden Sunday afternoon, shortly after re-signing with the team on a 10-day contract.
“Being able to walk in and put my stuff on the board, and the first player who walks in is Greg is fun,” Stevens said ahead of Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. “Getting a chance to talk about how he’s doing, how the people in his life are doing, and really spend time together – he wasn’t here that long, but it was a fun run when he was here. It was great to see him again.”
Monroe was a great boost to Boston’s offense during the final third of last season, playing in 26 games and tallying 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds over an average of 19.2 minutes per game. The 28-year-old center/forward signed with Toronto in the offseason and appeared in 38 games for the Raptors, averaging 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds over 11.1 minutes of action. Toronto traded then traded Monroe to Brooklyn on Feb. 7, but he was immediately waived by the Nets and hasn’t seen any NBA action since.
As he searched for work, Monroe became aware of Boston's open roster spot and also knew of the Celtics’ frontcourt injury issues, so he seized the opportunity, agreeing to come back on board.
“Obviously those guys were having a few little injuries and have been missing a few games,” Monroe said, referring to the injuries of Al Horford (sore knee), Robert Williams (back contusion) and Jayson Tatum (back contusion). “So it’s definitely about helping them out and getting ready for the playoffs. That what it’s about, trying to get those guys fully healthy to make a run.”
Stevens believes that the nine-year vet could give the C’s a bit of juice down the stretch, particularly under the rim and at the elbows.
“We’ve always thought highly of Greg,” Stevens said. “Defensively to be able to guard the post, there are matchups we probably wouldn’t use Greg on, but certainly to guard the post. And offensively, he’s pretty good on the block himself, but where I thought he fit great with us was at the elbows and passing the ball. It’s his Georgetown backdoor pass background. He’s a bright guy and when you put him through our stuff, he knows it right after he gets here. Doesn’t take him long.”
And it may not take long to see Monroe back in action. Stevens indicated that Monroe could be of use right away, as Boston will be without the three aforementioned players when they take on the Spurs.
“Having no Al and no Robert Williams against LaMarcus Aldridge is quite a challenge,” Stevens pointed out.
So, don’t be surprised if you see Moose get some runs in right off the bat Sunday night.
- Taylor Snow