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The case for Mason Plumlee as Rookie of the Year

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

As we've often reported, Mason Plumlee leads NBA rookies in shooting percentage, player efficiency rating and dunks. We say often because that ranking hasn't changed in weeks as Plumlee keeps rising, both literally and figuratively, in rookie rankings.

Now Kevin Pelton writes in an ESPN analysis of the rookie class that the Nets 7'1" (in sneakers) center with the 36" max vertical deserves consideration for Rookie of the Year.  His numbers may not be what Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo are putting up, but Plumlee is helping a contender. Those two guys could be years away from the playoffs.

Pelton writes...

The numbers agree on an unheralded candidate -- Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets, who is tops in WARP (2.8), win shares (3.5) and PER (17.9). Mason Plumlee might not have Michael Carter-Williams' numbers, but he is contributing to a winning team.

But while Carter-Williams is putting up numbers on the lowly 76ers, Plumlee is contributing to a playoff team. Brooklyn has gone 14-5 with Plumlee starting in place of the injured Kevin Garnett, and the Nets have been as effective overall with Plumlee in the middle as Garnett. Their defense suffers, but Plumlee's ability to finish at the rim makes them more potent offensively.

Will he win it? Almost certainly not. As Pelton points out, Of the past 26 Rookie of the Year awards, 25 have gone to the player with the highest combined averages in points, rebounds and assists per game. That would be MCW.  Still, Plumlee can't be dismissed.  He will be in the playoffs, putting up numbers and throwing down dunks.