ESPN’s David Thorpe updated his 2013 Rookie Rankings, and coming in second place is none other than the Nets’ 22nd overall draft pick, Mason Plumlee.
The Brooklyn Game has written before about how Plumlee’s success is merely indicative of the Nets’ struggles; but it’s been tough to ignore the Duke product’s early improvement. Many — Nets GM Billy King included — believed that Plumlee would spend most of the year in Springfield, but thanks to injuries, he’s averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds on 68% from the field in 17 minutes a game.
In a little over a month, Plumlee has nearly knocked the bench’s former hustle king, Reggie Evans, out of the rotation entirely. With his knack for running the floor, Plumlee has quickly found his way to help out. Most notably, he’s become a fan favorite in Brooklyn with his high-flying act– seen, for example, here and here. With 21 dunks, Plumlee only has one less dunk than LeBron James. He currently ranks ahead of superstars like Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins in the most-uselessly-fun-statistic of all-time.
With Andray Blatche moving into the starting lineup to replace the injured Brook Lopez, it was Mason Plumlee that responded with some bench scoring, including a 19-point, 6 rebound game against the Los Angeles Clippers in November.
In the ESPN rankings, Plumlee is higher than Rookie of the Year favorites like Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Utah’s Trey Burke. Only Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers ranks higher.
Brooklyn often trades their young assets — they don’t have a draft pick until the second round in 2017 — or miss the boat completely drafting. Good to see a rookie gaining exposure in a good way for once. (No, throwing a computer through a window doesn’t count, Sean Williams.)
Yes, the Brooklyn Nets have been ravaged by injuries, so it’s important to keep Plumlee’s averages and minutes in perspective. But it’s hard not to be a little excited.
One of the only players above Mason on that list? His brother Miles. That jump-right-out-of-the-building athletic ability must run in the family. The Nets have to be happy that Mason Plumlee is in theirs.