Brooklyn Nets 2013-2014 Player Review: Mason Plumlee

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee was not expected to be much of a factor this season with the Nets. Many, including Billy King, thought that Plumlee was bound the D-League, but instead he became a key component to the Nets incredible turnaround in 2014. Plumlee filled in nicely off the bench during the season and for a 22-game stretch became the starting center as Kevin Garnett battled back spasms. The team went 16-6 when Plumlee started this season.

Plumlee is a freakish athlete with a high motor. He had four successful years at Duke, where he played with the class of college basketball under stringent coach Mike Krzyzewski. That made for an easier transition for him to mesh with the veterans on the Nets. Filling in so well for the injured Garnett, some thought he should be the Rookie of the Year. He finished third in the voting for ROY and fourth in the All-Rookie Team balloting. Not bad for the No. 22 pick.

STATS

2013-2014


Mason Plumlee


Games Played


70

Minutes per game


18.2

True Shooting percentage


67

Assist rate


11.4

Turnover rate


14.7

Usage rate


17.2

Rebound rate


14.6

PER


19

Win Shares per 48


.176

Plumlee saw seven more minutes after the All Star break, when he grabbed nearly three more rebounds, took nearly thee more points and shot five percentage points better from the field (68%) than he had before the break. Those stats are more indicative of how Plumlee played considering he saw more minutes and had a more defined role on the floor. Plumlee had a very simple game, staying in the paint and getting to the rim. The rookie took 85% of his shots inside the restricted area and shot 72% there. Plumlee was nifty around the rim with many reverse layups and dunks. He also took some turnaround hook shots. He is also capable of putting the ball on the floor despite his massive frame. Plumlee finished first among rookies in field goal percentage and second among players who played 70 games or more, trailing only DeAndre Jordan.

SALARY SITUATION

Plumlee is still on his rookie contract, so he will be with the team next year for $1.3 million. The Nets have a team option for Plumlee the two years following worth $1.4 million and $2.3 million, respectively. In 2017-2018, the Nets will have a qualifying offer for Plumlee worth $3.37 million.

BEST MOMENT

It had to be the block on LeBron James. Plumlee vindicated his status as a legitimate NBA player by blocking the best player in the game and gave the Nets even more momentum heading into the stretch run of the season.

NEEDS TO

Develop his mid-range game. Plumlee took eight shots outside of the paint this season. For him to become a fixture of the Nets small-ball lineup, the center must be able to hit a shot from outside the paint and spread the floor. Plumlee can refine his mid-range game when he plays behind Brook Lopez and possibly Kevin Garnett, both of which are adept at hitting shots outside of the paint. For a player that was thought to be in the D-League for much of his rookie campaign, Plumlee is a skill or two away from becoming a fixture of the Nets rotation for years to come.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Plumlee had some explosive moments, but his arguably his best game was against the Pelicans in March. This was his second career double-double and was his coming out party in Brooklyn. Less than a month late he was inserted into the starting lineup over fellow reserve Andray Blatche for the injured Garnett.

IN THE FUTURE

Plumlee will make a serious impact on this team as he is sure to receive serious minutes next year and beyond. With Kevin Garnett not being able to get many minutes, Brook Lopez not being able to play the entire game, and Andray Blatche's future is in question, Plumlee will be counted on to give the Nets a boost off the bench.

With his great athleticism and high basketball IQ, Plumlee needs to find a way to make an impact in more then one way. The rookie showed that he was willing to learn and be part of the Nets unique offensive and defensive scheme. Plumlee was supposed to be a "safe" pick for Billy King last June. The Nets wanted Gorgiu Dieng who went one spot ahead of him. The idea was that he would develop in the D-League and he could be a fine role player when the team is in need of a big. However, Plumlee came into the league and made an instant impact and was arguably the most surprising rookie this season despite being selected at 22.

Final Grade: A-

Plumlee exceeded expectations in his opening season with the Nets. He is still developing his game but he is the perfect complement to the Nets small-ball lineups and gave the veteran team a shot of life off the bench. Big things are coming for the All-Rookie first team player.

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