Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe believes he can still be a success in Wisconsin despite the east-coast franchises underwhelming form since his arrival last summer.
The former Pistons man opted to join Jason Kidd's Bucks in free agency in a three-year $50 million deal; signalling his transition from up and comer to leading man.
The Bucks had one of the best defences in the whole NBA after the All-Star break during the 2014-15 campaign, but that hasn't translated to this term. They are joint-21st out of the 30 NBA teams for defensive efficiency this season.
Fingers have started to point towards Monroe, given he was the only major addition to a young group in the offseason, but the 25-year-old still believes time is on his side.
Monroe told The Vertical: “I thought I would be successful here. I still can. There is a lot of time left.”
The New Orleans-born big man has been taken out of the starting five recently too, but he doesn't believe his slot in the team defines him as a player.
Monroe said: “Nobody on this team can play 48 minutes; I’m either going to come out at six minutes or go in at six minutes. Not starting doesn’t bother me. I know what I can do.
"The coaches and my teammates know what I can do. It’s not about who is starting. It’s about who is contributing on the floor.”
Indeed, the 6'11" frontcourt star has been putting up credible numbers. He's averaging 16.6 points and 9.6 rebounds a night; two lines of production very close to what he put up in Detroit last year and are above his career averages.
Monroe's move in the summer was widely regarded as a smart piece of business for the Central Division outfit, and frankly, a bit of a coup.
The Bucks had a young and hungry line-up with Jabari Parker, O.J Mayo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Greivis Vasquez meshing together to create a fundamentally sound and organised unit.
Bringing in a skilled big-man to add another dimension to that core appeared common sense and their pursuit of Monroe was lauded both sensible and smart.
Now, however, they sit six wins back from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and the summer optimism has been replaced by thoughts of damage control.
It was speculated that the seventh pick in the 2010 draft was being shopped around for a trade ahead of the 2016 deadline. However, Monroe believes that was just the nature of the league rather than a lack of faith in him from the Bucks' brass.
"It’s not the first time my name has been out there and it won’t be the last time,” Monroe said. “Unless a trade happens, it’s not going to bother me.
"How many guys hear their names swirling in rumors? That’s part of the league. It doesn’t matter to me until somebody from here [Bucks front office] tells me they made a move. Then it’s on to the next.”
Can the Bucks make a late surge for the playoffs like they did last year?