2018-19 Denver Nuggets season review: Mason Plumlee

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@Eric_Spyros

Numbers:

7.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists per game (82 games played)

Mason Plumlee enjoyed his most successful season with the Denver Nuggets during the 2018-19 campaign as he solidified the bench unit in the frontcourt. Plumlee averaged 21.1 minutes per game across all 82 regular season games, and his ability to find open teammates allowed Denver’s offense to continue to flow when the bench unit was on the floor.

Plumlee’s three assists per game ranked eighth among centers this past season. All of the centers above the 29-year-old played at least 27.4 minutes per game. In addition to his unique playmaking skills, Plumlee also provided a vertical threat for alley-oops, cleaned up on the boards and finished around the rim.

Plumlee shot 74.4 percent from within three feet of the rim, as he is able to finish as the roll man in the pick-and-roll at a comfortable rate. Of course, the former Duke Blue Devil isn’t afraid to throw down a highlight-worthy dunk from time to time.

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Plumlee grabbed nearly 11 rebounds per-36 minutes, and his presence on the boards allowed Denver to maintain a strong rebounding advantage on a regular basis. Plumlee’s knack for getting up high for contested rebounds and then bringing the ball up the court is a unique component of the Nuggets’ transition game, an area in which the team thrived.

As a result of Nikola Jokić’s shooting ability and Plumlee’s passing, the two big men have thrived when sharing the court together in recent seasons, and that trend continued in 2018-19. The duo posted a +7.9-net rating this past season, which is a result of the varied play styles that both men possess.

The 2018-19 season was one of Plumlee’s best in his NBA career and certainly his most productive in a Nuggets uniform. Plumlee’s assist percentage (19.5), rebound percentage (16.4), win shares (5.8) and box plus-minus (+3.8) all represent significant increases from previous campaigns.

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Despite having started for a couple of teams earlier in his career, Plumlee understands his role on this Nuggets squad and appreciates his opportunities to contribute.

“It's tough (coming off the bench) but like I said, it's bigger than one person, it's bigger than me,” Plumlee said following the season. “(I’m) enjoying those guys doing what they do was special.”

Plumlee is one of best backup centers in the league, and in addition to his athletic style of play he also ensures that Denver has 48 minutes of quality play at center. With Plumlee on the floor, the Nuggets offense can continue to operate in similar fashion, with the center factoring in to the team’s playmaking and shot creation.

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Unique fact: Plumlee became the fifth player in NBA history to have a rebound percentage greater than 16 percent and an assist percentage greater than 19 percent while shooting over 50 percent from the field in a season.

The other players to have such a season? Shaquille O’Neal, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Charles Barkley and Plumlee’s teammate Nikola Jokić.

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