WASHINGTON – Greg Monroe will be in uniform tonight for the Boston Celtics.
Whether he plays, remains to be seen.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens isn’t sure if the newest addition to the Celtics family will play against the Washington Wizards tonight.
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But he is convinced adding the 6-foot-11 center can only help a Celtics team whose goals, much like their record, have steadily improved as the season wore on.
And the addition of Monroe addresses two of the team’s biggest needs: additional scoring and size.
“We’re excited to have Greg. He brings, a guy that can put the ball in the basket,” Stevens said. “Can play at the elbows, pass … he compliments who we have, well.”
Among those pleased with the addition of Monroe is Al Horford who has many battles with Monroe in the past.
“He’s a player you want to have on your side,” Horford said. “Greg’s ability to score the ball, rebound, is going to be great for us. He can really pass the ball as well. He’s just another guy that’s going to be huge for us, in what we’re trying to do once the playoffs start.”
Monroe became available after he reached a buyout with the Phoenix Suns.
The Celtics quickly came to terms on a one-year, $5 million deal with the eight-year veteran, but didn’t make it official until today because Boston wanted to maximize its flexibility leading up to today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
“He’s the kind of guy that I can’t believe fell through that way, for us to get him,” said Celtics big man Al Horford. “I feel like it’s gonna pay off for our group. He’s going to make our team better. It’s just a matter of time.”
Once the deadline came and the Celtics did not make a trade, they immediately made the Monroe deal official.
There were a handful of teams interested in Monroe, but the Celtics were in the best position to offer him more money than any other team as well as an opportunity to win at a high level.
“Once the buyout was done, it was just about seeing where I would be most comfortable,” Monroe said.
Boston (39-16) comes into tonight’s game against Washington with the best record in the Eastern Conference, third overall.
In Monroe’s search for a new team, it was clear that he was searching for a team whose style of play and system aligned with the things he has done well in past years.
And having been lit up repeatedly by Monroe when he was in Detroit and later Milwaukee, the Celtics were well-versed on how impactful Monroe’s game could be on a team’s defense.
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Monroe, drafted by Detroit with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, understands what it’s like to be a player billed as the face of the franchise, and he understands what it’s like to be a role player.
Having that experience under his belt will help him adapt to what’s likely to be a series of highs and lows during his time this season with the Celtics.
Monroe said his goal this season is pretty simple.
“Obviously, they’re playing at a very high level,” Monroe said. “I’m just trying to come in and enhance it any way I can.”