Greg Monroe joining rookie elite
Pistons center is one of the few first-year players having an impact this season
Each Monday throughout the NBA season, ESPN Insider will investigate the latest trends in the league. Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton is keeping an eye on all the numbers and will have a first look at how players, teams and the league as a whole are evolving.
Trending player: Greg Monroe, C, Detroit Pistons
This year's crop of rookies has been a bust thus far. Aside from Blake Griffin and John Wall, and second-round surprise Landry Fields, first-year players have provided relatively little production for their teams. It may be time to add Greg Monroe to that list of exceptions. The Detroit center has stepped up as a starter in the month of January, moving up to fourth among rookies in estimated wins added, John Hollinger's measure of player value. He's fifth in Basketball Prospectus' wins above replacement player, trailing the aforementioned three players and Al-Farouq Aminu of the Los Angeles Clippers.
During the month, Monroe has averaged 10.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. His performance was highlighted by four consecutive double-doubles. Monroe benefited from additional playing time with Ben Wallace sidelined by an ankle injury, averaging 33.9 minutes per game after playing just 19.3 minutes a night during November and December. Even accounting for the playing time, however, Monroe has been more effective as he adjusts to the NBA game.
To read more about how Greg Monroe became one of the NBA's best rookies, and how coach Paul Silas has helped improve the Charlotte Bobcats, you must be an ESPN Insider.