07
Jan

David Pick - Teil 32

If I'd have told you back in September that 11 rounds into the 2019-2020 Euroleague season Bayern Munich would be one game behind Fenerbahce and David Blatt’s Olympiacos, people in Bavaria would be doing a backflip somersaults.

However, things aren’t always what they seem. David Blatt, according to whispers I’ve heard, is mulling retirement and is no longer coaching, while Fenerbahce and Olympiacos are not even in the playoffs.

Which means … the Germans are placed 16th in the standings with a negative 4-8 record while Zeljko Obradovic's squad are a negative 5-7. So technically, the ones doing the backflip somersaults are most likely the Turkish, baffled and fuming over the terrible, injury plagued season that has fallen upon them.

Don't forget the Euroleague is a marathon, not a sprint. That educated coaches and executives with a vision and patience will realise this. You can't get too high after Ws or too low after Ls. Fenerbahce this season had very few happy moments and we all remember the recent "FUCK YOU GIGI DATOME" monolog. Armani Milano were on a six game win streak and Ettore Messina wasn't far from being crowned KING, before stumbling upon a three game hiccup vs Anadolu Efes, Olympiacos, and Red Star Belgrade. Valencia at one point was rock bottom in the standings before it went on a spurt winning four of five games. Munich have also been going through an awkward season as they're yet to put together back to back Ws in the Euroleague. With their 2018-2019 Cinderella syndrome gone - now teams come prepared for Bayern. Up until round five they'd rotate W-L-W-L-W, however since then players went down with injuries while others failed to step up, and before you know it they're cooking six loses over the last seven games (!), turning the situation into a toxic environment.

There is losing and there is losing. You get the difference right? There is losing when you fight on the court and leave your heart out on the parquet. And there is losing for careless reasons and lack of aggression and determination. Four of Munich's last six Ls have been borderline blowouts or double-digit defeats, some of them even humiliating: -33 vs Baskonia, -26 vs Valencia, -29 vs Anadolu Efes, and -22 vs Maccabi Tel Aviv; a total average of -21.6PPG.

They need to figure things out, I'm not sure what that is, but I hope it happens soon. In this edit of BIG Magazine, I'd like to discuss the differences between Derrick Williams and Greg Monroe. It isn't a comparison of their talent, due to them playing in different positions and being totally different players, but D-Will has spent time at the 5 position for Fener, both are graduates of the 2010 NBA Draft class, and both made the jump from the NBA to Munich.

Let's start with Williams. His career surely didn't develop as anticipated. The former No.2 overall NBA Draft Pick is the second highest to ever play for Fenerbahce - the No.1 draftee being Anthony Bennett. Besiktas also had a No.1 Draft Pick suit up for them. Remember who? ... Allen Iverson.

Back to D-Will. Coming overseas last season wasn't much a choice for him as much as it was the only alternative. He bounced around too many NBA teams and I believe outside a brief stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he's NEVER played a game is his life past the month of April - no playoffs wins, no titles, no championships. His body and mental approach are only now getting used to the grind. In Munich, some believe he checked out in January and was basically cruising through the season ever since. But Munich got him on a bargain price after he was cut from China and laid off by the Lakers. With the NBA off the table and the Asia market disinterested, D-Will "settled" on a reasonably low contract in Germany, likely the lowest NET salary he has ever made in his career. How low? Under $500,000. Under $400,000 … I can go on but you get the idea. LOW.

It was a great move for Munich and a smart move for Williams, who is now on the books for $1.5M+ with Fenerbahce. Ettore Messina showed significant interest in signing Williams during the summer, but he was torn between the former NBAer and Zalgiris Kaunas' Aaron White. He ultimately chose White, however learning later that White turned Vegan and lost roughly 10 kilos from an already skinny build. Milano might've made a mistake in that regard.

Williams made an ultra-quick transition to the Euroleague, much faster than anyone anticipated. His game fits well overseas and he is athletic enough and strong enough to play the 5 in certain lineups, or go big at the forward position. Williams' statistics from Bavaria to Istanbul are similar 11 games into the 2019-2020 season: PPG (11/11), 3PT% (35/37), FT% (55/84), REB (4.7/3.6), AST (1.2/0/4), STL (1.4/0.7).

Williams’ energy stood out early, but as mentioned above, he collapsed around January. As an individual everyone liked Williams, he was always smiling, very approachable and easy to communicate with.

Monroe's case is different. We really need to examine him and give him the benefit of the doubt of being a 29-year-old rookie. Not many people remember but Monroe was the most recruited teenager in high school in the United States. This is all life changing for him. A complete culture shock.

While power-clubs like Panathinaikos, CSKA Moscow and Barcelona landed Wesley Johnson, Kosta Koufos, Nikola Mirotic and Maccabi Tel Aviv brought in Quincy Acy and Omri Casspi, Munich once again pulled off a surprising move - a steal if I may - linking Greg Monroe.

This isn't Tarik Black who was trying to make an NBA roster but ended up in Europe. Monroe is a former No.7 lottery selection by Joe Dumars and the Detroit Pistons. He played almost a decade in the NBA, averaging 13.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG ans 2.1 AST - he averaged more assists in the NBA than Derrick Williams does in Europe (!). You know what that's credit to? His very high basketball IQ.

Monroe is an old school center. He was a special player. All-NBA Rookie 1st Team, who started in 48 games his rookie season. He led the Pistons in scoring his 2nd season. He posted a career-high 16 PPG playing all 81 games for the Bucks before making stops in Phoenix, Boston, Toronto and Philly.

Williams and Monroe are totally different players. Greg has a different skill set and he plays for a team that needs more coaching and discipline than it currently has. He is very intelligent, tends not to speak unless spoken too. He reads books - how many basketball players can you name on one hand that read books? I'm not sure if he thought Europe would be a walk in the park but the truth is he is getting banged around and not enough credit from the refs.

Monroe had some really poor shooting games, because by the time he gets the ball after battling for position and fighting in the paint, he is exhausted - but these are growing pains he needs to learn from. Monroe is posting thus far 12.7PPG but shooting just 48% from 2PT (kind of odd for a 211 centimeters hulk), 6REB and almost 3AST per game, credit to his IQ and abilities to kick out the ball to the open guard or play with his fellow big man. He struggled vs CSKA's Kyle Hines (4/10 FG), ASVEL's Tonye Jekiri (3/10 FG), Milano's Kaleb Tarczewski (3/9 FG), Olympiacos' Nikola Milutinov (7/17 FG) and Valencia's Bojan Dubljevic (1/6 FG). Monroe did well vs Khimki, Baskonia, Real Madrid and Fenerbahce, but he is coming off a downhill ride against Anadolu Efes and Maccabi Tel Aviv, combining for 7PTS and 4.5REB on 42% FG shooting. That’s bad for ur starting center.

Monroe is a very physical player, especially on offense and close to the rim. He knows how to pass, but needs to step up his game on defense where he hasn't shown as much toughness or willingness to compete, and he gets scored on easily.

"We take pride in our defense. Monroe knows how to play in the post, but we did our best to keep him out of the paint and use our quickness to exploit their weaknesses,” said Maccabi Tel Aviv center Othello Hunter.

His yellow-and-blue frontcourt teammate Tarik Black added: "Monroe is a great player with a long history in the NBA. He's had a great career from high school, to Georgetown to the NBA. I have a lot of respect for him and I'm happy for him".

Monroe's adjustment curve to Europe has taken longer than it did Williams. The NBA wasn't welcoming him anymore. Today's big men can dribble, step out to shoot 3s, and are more agile than Monroe. Europe actually suits him better, but it will take him time. I believe he will proceed to be more dominant in the later half of the season, once he gets the hang of things and figures it out. He might've had a smoother landing with Stefan Jovic as PG on the roster, but nonetheless he is making solid strides.


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