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Doug: I wouldn’t mind Greg Monroe in a Suns uniform

The NBA draft is only 20 weeks away and the Suns need my help.

Every week leading up to the draft I will explain who I’d like to see the Suns get in the 2010 draft on June 24.

Before we start, let’s review last year. As many of you know, I was all about DeJuan Blair. I thought one of the biggest weaknesses of the Suns was a lack of physical toughness and a relentless desire to run someone through a wall to be successful. DeJuan Blair was and still is that person. DeJuan Blair, as a second round pick, is embarrassing the league every time he steps on the floor with his dominance of the glass. He’s not the NBA Rookie of the Year this year but he’s in the conversation (I would take Tyreke Evans of Sacramento for that honor right now). This year, there is no one that I think is as clear cut the answer for all that ails the Suns like Blair was.

Every week I’ll highlight the a few college basketball players that I think epitomizes what the Suns need by the way they played the week before. Some of these players the Suns will have to trade up to get since the Suns gave up their 1st round pick to OKC so Robert Sarver could save money on the luxury tax. This is not a blog ranking the best players in the 2010 draft or college basketball overall. It’s the players I want to see play for the Suns and my belief the individual fills a specific need.

My favorite player right now doesn’t fit the mold of a “Doug Franz kind of guy.” I like the DeJuan Blair’s of the world because of their intensity. I want to see your desire to win by the way you play. Blair doesn’t care how dirty he gets as long as the job gets done.

My favorite player right now for the Suns to draft is Greg Monroe of Georgetown. Monroe is a much smoother athlete than Blair. His athleticism makes the game seem easy to him so he doesn’t appear to be as dirty (I don’t mean that in the Conrad Dobler sense but in the “get down and dirty” sense).

Every time I watch him, he gets rebounds more by intelligence and athleticism than brute force. Although he wouldn’t add to the Suns “toughness quotient” as much as I’d like, he’s a good rebounder. He can score almost anywhere on the court. He’s 6-11 but runs the floor like a 3. He passes better than most point guards but I’d never have him bring the ball up the floor. He’s light years ahead in basketball intellect than most college sophomores. He won’t be a pro three-point shooter but he’s got a solid jumper up to 18 feet and can stretch it a little. He’s not an abomination at the free throw line but I can’t explain why he shot better as a freshman from the stripe than he does now.

His defense is excellent at the college level. Blocked shots with his feet and his head without needing to make wild swats at the ball. This is key in the NBA due to the penchant for NBA refs to call every foul in the book on rookies. I don’t know this first hand but I can see that he accepts the other teams’ offensive concepts, meaning he figures out what the opponent wants to do and counters that. His anticipation skills are excellent but I assume this is backed up by coaching and individual film study of the opponent.

The negatives of Monroe are few but are still major issues. Monroe must get stronger. Monroe and I weigh the same and he has 10 inches on me. Granted, that’s an indictment of both of us but he’s the one making his living with body (I’m already married so I don’t have to market the body). Every flaw might be solved taking care of his power.

Monroe needs to be able to move people out of position and declare his own. In the NBA, there’s a much higher ratio of players with his athleticism and intelligence so he’ll need to use his improved strength to get some of the rebounds he’s used to getting in college.

Monroe is such a good shot blocker he’ll get some blocks by leaving his man alone to provide help. Occasionally he’ll leave too early. In the NBA, his man would get a few more dunks as Monroe adjusts to staying home a little longer before he gets sucked into a big man with his passing skills who can dish off to Monroe’s original responsibility.

Next time you watch a Georgetown basketball game, watch Monroe (he’s number #10). After the game, e-mail me doug@ktar.com and tell me what you think.

Go Suns!