Brook’s out. Now what?

Brook Lopez

4. Kevin Garnett at PF, Mason Plumlee at C

Brandon Davies, Tony Wroten, Mason Plumlee
Does the rookie Plumlee deserve a start on a veteran team? (AP)

Together in 2013-14: 12 GP, 54 MP, 74.5 points scored per 100 possessions, 105.4 points allowed per 100 possessions, -30.9 net rating
Highest rank: 1st
Lowest rank: 5th
Most common rank: 5th
Devin’s rank: 5th
Average rank: 4

Devin’s take: I expected this tandem to rank fifth, but a few enterprising folks at TBG are very excited about this possibility. I’m going to try to enter into their brains right now.

Plumlee is an intriguing talent, much more so than he appeared on draft night. He’s displayed the confidence you might expect from a four-year Duke graduate, and his 36″ vertical is rare for a seven-footer. Plumlee’s also been one of the few players this team who’s shown relentless energy this season on the floor, subsequently earning a real spot in the rotation early in the season, and giving him a starting nod would be a reward for that energy.

The two do potentially fit well together. Garnett’s had trouble this year finishing shots near the rim, and Plumlee out-dunked Lob City in Lob City. Conversely, Plumlee’s biggest weaknesses early are help defense and rebounding, two of Garnett’s biggest strengths.

(Didn’t think Plumlee’s rebounding was bad? His rebound rate of 10.1 is the worst of all qualifying centers in the NBA, including Brook Lopez. Or chew on this: 144 players have played in at least 15 games and been within 3.5 feet of a rebound at least seven times per game this season. As far as the total percentage of those rebounds picked up, Plumlee is 144th. Dead last, by a wide margin. Information via SportVU.)

But Plumlee’s limitations make this a problem for me. He really is horrendous defensively at this point — outside of a few really fun blocks (seriously! They are!) he’s a step slow on most rotations, and his inability to corral rebounds or shoot outside of the paint makes it a tough call. I’m also partial to lineups that will put Garnett at center, where he won’t have to move as much defensively.

OK, anonymous TBG members, you’ve semi-convinced me. It’s not the worst idea. But there’s something to be said for knowing your limitations, and with Garnett already limited himself, I think there are better options for the Nets.

Next: #3