Mason Plumlee’s summer continues to get better. Fresh off surviving a round of cuts on the U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team, ESPN Analyst Bradford Doolittle made the case that Plumlee deserves more minutes during the ’14-’15 season.
From Doolittle’s ESPN Insider piece (subscription required): “Plumlee’s 19.0 PER was a revelation for the Nets a season ago, as he played 1,275 minutes and started 22 games to help Brooklyn survive the lost season of Brook Lopez.” Doolittle points to his brother Miles development in year two and a Brooklyn atmosphere that may call for Plumlee to step up: Andray Blatche is gone, Kevin Garnett may not be able to contribute “much more than 20 minutes per night,” and concerns remain about Brook Lopez’s health.
Doolittle noted Lionel Hollins propensity to play traditional big man lineups as another reason Nets fans should see more of Plumlee on the court. Specifically, for those fans calling for Plumlee at the power forward spot, Doolitte cited Plumlee’s potential defensive prowess at the 4:
He played much more in the middle than at power forward as a rookie, but according to 82games.com, his defensive PER was much better at the 4. Plumlee’s numbers at Synergy Sports Technologies suggest he wasn’t comfortable stepping out against jump-shooters, but he’s got the mobility and athleticism to guard most 4s.
Finally, Doolittle believes that Plumlee’s strong inside presence on the offensive end complements the strong face up games that the rest of The Nets group of bigs possess. At the four or the five, Doolittle, like quite a few Nets fans, think Plumlee can play along with Lopez, Garnett or Teletovic (and what big couldn’t work with a stretch 4 like MT3) with relative ease.
All signs point to a bigger role for Plumlee next year, regardless of his status with the USA Men’s Basketball Team.