Greg Monroe provides Timberwolves expertise, flexibility heading into postseason – InForum

MINNEAPOLIS — The second Greg Monroe was introduced as much as Chris Finch after the Minnesota Timberwolves had formally signed the large man to a rest-of-season deal, the coach introduced up what nonetheless stays in everybody’s thoughts.

“He was big for us,” Finch stated. “He helped us win a big game.”

That could be the Celtics sport at Target Center in late December, wherein Monroe confirmed up on the group facility for the primary time late within the afternoon, and hours later was the centerpiece of Minnesota’s assault on an evening wherein the Wolves’ roster was ravaged by COVID-19. The Wolves beat a great Celtics group that evening, one of many extra memorable wins of the season.

Monroe continued to assist the Wolves all through his 10-day contract with the group earlier than shifting on. Finch defined this week that Minnesota “thought about” protecting the veteran heart means again when, “but were unable to do so.” Such an addition at that time within the season may’ve moved the Wolves into the luxurious tax.

So as a substitute, Monroe went on a tour of the NBA, touring from one cease to the subsequent on 10-day offers. He performed for Washington, Milwaukee after which Utah earlier than ultimately discovering his means again to Minnesota this week.

“It’s a part of the game, especially with everything going on, COVID still. I ain’t the only guy that’s had to do it,” Monroe stated of his frequent travels with temporary layovers. “It’s a whirlwind, but it’s also been fun and I’m still playing the game I love, still playing basketball. Just take it in stride and adjust on the fly.”

But now he’s discovered a house, not less than for the remainder of the season — nevertheless lengthy that lasts for Minnesota. Monroe might be on the Timberwolves’ playoff roster and will doubtlessly play a job within the group’s postseason success. At age 31, Monroe has playoff expertise. The 6-foot-11, 265 pound heart additionally has an enormous physique and physicality the Timberwolves, at occasions, desperately want.

Naz Reid has been nice in lots of contests this season backing up Karl-Anthony Towns however doesn’t all the time fare effectively in opposition to greater frontcourts.

“We just need some size, we need some rebounding, we need a different type of big. We just don’t know what’s on the horizon. He’s an excellent fit in our system with his passing and the way we like to play through the elbows and stuff like that,” Finch stated. “I see a role for him. We play some big guys. (Clippers center Ivica) Zubac is a big guy. (Pelicans center Jonas) Valanciunas is a big guy. There’s some big guys out there.”

Monroe confirmed up simply 5 days earlier than the Wolves’ first postseason competitors — Tuesday’s play-in sport in opposition to the Clippers — however he famous having familiarity from his earlier run with the Wolves is useful to his transition.

“I mean anytime you have familiarity it makes it a little bit easier. Coming in, understanding the way they play already. Understanding some of the offenses,” Monroe stated. “I learned a couple other playbooks since I was here. Once you get back out here, in practice we went over some stuff, it comes back a little bit. Definitely happy to be back here. It definitely helps to understand the concepts and what they’re trying to do as a team.”

Monroe entered Sunday’s contest in opposition to Chicago roughly seven minutes into the primary quarter and immediately served as a plug for Minnesota’s inside points on an evening when Towns didn’t gown. The veteran is aware of what might be requested of him on this group.

“I know it’s one of the reasons I’m here, to bring some physicality to the team. So I understand that’s something that they want to see from not just me, but they want to see from all the guys to bring a level of physicality,” Monroe stated. “Getting ready for the playoffs, you just have to. The game gets more physical, it slows down a little bit more, it’s more of a grind-it-out type of game in the playoffs. I think these guys are ready to take on the challenge. I’m definitely going to try to bring as much physicality as I can, knowing that’s something they’re focusing on getting ready for the playoffs.”

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