Monroe recently signed a 10-day contract with Minnesota because of a limited roster plagued by COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The big man made history when he was signed, becoming the 541st player used in the league this season.
After checking in off the bench, he created 11 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
Greg Monroe with 11 Points, 9 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Block, 55% FG in 23 Minutes tonight in his NBA return. pic.twitter.com/x0i016Dlxd
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 28, 2021
But even if he scored far less than that, seeing Monroe again was surprising, inspiring, and a sign of how unique and downright odd the league currently is thanks to the world we live in.
The Road To Here
Monroe was selected with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.
Ironically, the center made his first career start on December 10, 2010, against the Timberwolves where he created eight points and 15 rebounds.
In his first season, Monroe placed sixth in NBA Rookie of the Year voting.
Throughout his career, Monroe averaged 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds and was a reliable, solid defender and bounced around the league, playing for the Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers before putting in a few years in Germany and Russia.
He is a talented athlete but, like so many in the league, he slipped out of the limelight and was seemingly retired from playing in the big leagues.
Well, until COVID came along.
As the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads throughout the country – and the NBA – it’s creating surprising signings in the league.
We have seen a slew of semi-retired players signing 10-day contracts with teams that are losing players left and right because of the virus.
According to NBA rules, teams are required to sign at least one replacement player if two test positive, at least two replacements players if three tests positive, and three if four or more test positive.
As you can imagine, as more players are getting sick, more vets are getting signed.
This has given Monroe a second chance at the NBA.
It’s a wild situation that is new for both players and coaches: when Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch was asked about how much Monroe would play, he honestly told the Star Tribune, “I don’t know. I just met him about 30 minutes ago.”
How Long Will It Last?
Now the big question is: will this last for Monroe and the other players pulled back into rotation?
As you see, these guys are all signing 10-day contracts and as the recent signing and then waiving of Isaiah Thomas with the Los Angeles Lakers shows, there is no guarantee that anyone is sticking around for more than those 10 days.
So anyone hoping to see Monroe finish the season – or even play more than 10 days – shouldn’t get their hopes up.
Free agent center Greg Monroe plans to sign a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources tell @ShamsCharania.
The 31-year-old is averaging 10.4 PPG and 8.8 RPG in the G League. pic.twitter.com/66GWxRsJpU
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) December 26, 2021
Now, that doesn’t mean that Monroe can’t return to the NBA full time.
If he does well with Minnesota, perhaps he will then move to another team (like Thomas did) or even find a squad that needs his experience and expertise full time.
But it’s more likely that Monroe is playing on borrowed time.
Still, it’s great to see him suit up and it’s even better to see him doing well.
No matter why he’s back in the NBA, watching Monroe play basketball again just goes to show he has kept his talent strong all these years.