A 7-foot, 238-pound big man with a 6’11” wingspan, a 36” vertical jump and the second-best lane agility time amongst all big men in the NBA draft combine usually wouldn’t last more than one season in college before landing on an NBA roster. However, Mason Plumlee stayed at Duke for four seasons before leaving for the glamor of professional basketball. The Indiana native decided to fine-tune his skills under the tutelage of Mike Krzyzewski rather than leap for the NBA early, and now he has caught the attention of teams searching for an athletic post player that can contribute early.
Things the Draft Experts Like:
NBADraft.Net: “Big forward with NBA run/jump athleticism… Tough nosed player willing to do the dirty work… Brings consistent energy to the floor… Uses size and athleticism well on the boards… Very good leaper and adept at converting alley oops… Contributes without needing to have plays run for him… Has developed serviceable hook shots and post moves around the basket.”
ESPN.com: “Blessed with size, an NBA body and elite athleticism for a big… Athletically among the top two or three big men in the draft… Has great hands, can catch and finish on the run and plays with power in the post… Can catch the ball in midair and finish…”
DraftExpress.com: “Establishes good post position and does a fairly good job sealing off his defender and creating space… Showed increased awareness in the post… Extremely quick getting up and down the court in transition and is very athletic for his size… Ability to finish above the rim emphatically… Moves well without the ball, has soft hands and attacks the offensive glass… Has the size, athleticism, and touch to shine diving to the basket off pick and roll sets… Has the size and willingness to be an effective post defender… Very good defensive rebounder, who does a good job boxing out, fighting for position early and tracking the ball.”
Draft Expert Concerns:
DraftExpress.com: “Still relatively limited repertoire of post moves… Looks methodical in his counter moves… Tends to rely on dominant right hand on finishes around the basket leading to wasting his established position… Not a threat to make jump-shots and his ball handling is considered average… Has a hitch in his release… Lateral quickness is average at best… Tends to give quite a bit of room to ball handlers on the pick and roll, as he struggles to get back to his man is he doesn’t… Not a prolific shot blocker… Already 23 years old.”
ESPN.com: “Lacks length and shot blocking skills… Jump shot is a work-in-progress… Upside is limited.”
NBAdraft.net: “Lacks much of an offensive repertoire… Offensive post game remains a work in progress… Somewhat stiff and robotic in his movements… Post moves seem predetermined, and he struggles to make counter moves… Lacks great defensive ability, anticipation and ability to make adjustments… Not a vocal leader… Lacks upside.”
Plumlee was teammates with two current Pelicans during his four-year stint at Duke University. The Indiana native joined Lance Thomas during the 2009-10 season as the Blue Devils captured the national championship. He also teamed up with current Pelicans shooting guard Austin Rivers during the 2011-12 season at Duke.