Philadelphia 76ers: Greg Monroe the answer as backup center

The Philadelphia 76ers have figured out which player is best suited for the backup center role for the series against the Toronto Raptors.

The move to add Greg Monroe to the bench near the end of the regular season didn’t seem like a big deal when the transaction was made. However, that move has ended up being an important one as he played a pivotal part in the Philadelphia 76ers game two win against the Toronto Raptors.

After the game one loss, I wrote about how the Sixers needed to bench Boban Marjanovic. This was because Marjanovic proved to be a negative while he was out on the court. This also proved to continue to be the case in game two when he only was in for one minute and was a plus/minus -5. However, Monroe stepped up in a big way that made the backup center position a positive in this matchup.

In 12 minutes, Monroe had a stat line of 10 points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and a turnover, while making 4-7 shots from the floor and both of his free throw attemps. He was also a plus/minus +8, the highest among any player on the 76ers roster. Monroe played solid defense on Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol.

Monroe’s success in game two shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering he played 38 games with the Raptors this season before being waived. He’s practiced with/against most of this Raptors team and played in 18 home games in Toronto as well. It’s clear that when Monroe is focused in he can be a serviceable backup center in this series.

The only down part in the game two win, was that Monroe went out with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was initially ruled able to return, but then that status was changed to unable to return, according to Derek Bonder of The Athletic. There isn’t any official update on his status for game three, but obviously this isn’t ideal for someone who provided so much positive play at the backup center position.

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In an ideal world, both Monroe and injured stretch big Mike Scott will be available for the Philadelphia 76ers in game three on their home court. Both can provide positive play at the center spot for the Sixers when healthy, but until there’s a health update on either player, Philly’s depth chart at the center position is in jeopardy.