Tuesday, 26 March 2013

White Hawk, Blue Devils - Mason Plumlee!

Nicknamed “The White Hawk”, Mason Plumlee plays for the Duke Blue Devils and stands at 6”11 and 240lbs.  As a freshman in the 09-10 season he played backup forward along side his older brother Miles Plumlee; who now plays in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers.  Currently he plays together with his younger brother; Marhsall.

Mason Plumlee along with his two other brothers and sister

In the video below Mason’s father “Perky” Plumlee talks about the growth and development of his three sons and how their passion for the game of basketball developed.





Plumlee has been a spectacular player so far throughout his career and has racked up many accomplishments including:


  • Helping his high school (Christ School) to 3 state championships and an overall record of 99-8 over the three years.
  • Winning a silver medal with the 2008 USA U18 National Team in the FIBA Americans Under 18 Championship
  • Being named as a McDonald’s All-American in 2009
  • Being named as a Jordan Brand All American, Parade All American and Slam All American.


In this current 2012-2013 season Plumlee is averaging (accurate as of Monday, 25th March): 17.2 points per game on 59.8% shooting; 67.2% from the free throw line; 10.0 rebounds a game; 2.0 assists per game, 1.5 blocks per game; 1.0 steals per game and 2.9 turnovers per game in 34.5 minutes per game.

Mason Plumlee is likely to be a lottery pick in the 2013 draft for the 2013-14 NBA season so let’s break down his game and take a look at some of his strengths and weaknesses.


Strengths:

Dubbed as ‘the most athletic big man in Duke history’ it’s no secret that Plumlee is a freak of nature when it comes to his athleticism.  As a result he’s proven to be a solid rebounder, defender and finisher.  Whist many rebounders in college and the NBA rely purely on their athleticism to get them rebounds, Plumlee is a solid fundamental player when it pertains to grabbing boards and frequently boxes out his opponent before going for a rebound.  Additionally, Plumlee’s athleticism means that he is able to finish in, around and under the basket with both hands very well and frequently gets fouled – which is shown by his 7.2 attempted free throws per a game.  According to Synergy Sports Plumlee makes 63.8% of his shots around the basket and as a result he has been ranked in the “excellent” section for this category.

Plumlee’s defense, especially his help defense is also a strong point to his game.  While some may say that he only averages 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per game it’s important to note that defense is much more than blocks and steals.  Plumlee’s help defense is solid and he has proved to be an effective post defender, limiting his matchup to an average of 38.6% shooting and 0.68 points per possession in the 2011-12 season.

Another category in which Plumlee shines is his vision.  Draft Express ranks Plumlee in the top 5 centers when it pertains to passing, although he only averaged 2.0 assists a game – which is quite good for a center nonetheless – Plumlee has shown that he is able to find his wing players both on the fast break and out of the post.  It’s here that I feel Plumlee will be head and shoulders above the rest if he makes the pros.  There are many athletic players and big men in the NBA but history has shown that a player needs more than just a high vertical or fast 40-yard dash time to survive in the pros.  If he continues to develop I can see him becoming an elite passer amongst big men in the NBA and joining the likes of a Joakim Noah or DeMarcus Cousins when it comes to passing.


Weaknesses:

Early on in Plumlee’s career his free throw shooting was a major problem, while he’s continued to develop his shooting technique (which is notorious for having an awkward release) Plumlee must continue to strive for a higher percentage – currently shooting .672% - especially when his style of play commands double teams and he is fouled often when attempting shots from under the basket.

Furthermore, while he is very athletic, he lacks a variety of post moves and this makes him somewhat predictable.  In recent times we’ve seen him shoot more hook shots.  It’s unlikely that Plumlee will make this part of his arsenal as it has become somewhat of a lost art in today’s college game and in the NBA but if Plumlee does add this to his game then it will be very interesting to see how effective it is. 

Plumlee attempting a hook shot


Mason’s lack of a jump-shot also means defences know that he’s going to score the majority of his baskets inside of the painted area and therefore can adjust quickly and without much disruption.

While Mason runs the floor well as a big men with both the ball in and out of his hand his lateral speed is poor.  This can and has been tolerated by coaches as big men are naturally not as quick as guards, however it has usually been the large, dominating centers who struggle with lateral speed such as Shaquille O’Neal, Tyson Chandler and Serge Ibaka.  The leaner centeres in the NBA such as Joakim Noah are expected to defend pick and rolls better because of their decrease in body mass and weight.  His poor lateral speed is reflected in the number of point he gives up per possession when it pertains to isolation plays at 0.86

What team would I like to see him at?

Due to Mason Plumlee being an athletic big man I’d like to see him get drafted to the Toronto Raptors.  The Raptors are a young and very athletic team due to having players on their roster such as DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross and I feel that Plumlee would fit in well.

The Raptors training staff have done a very good job in developing DeMar DeRozan into the player he is today and although Andrea Bargnani is their main big man I still feel that Plumlee could flourish at the power forward position.

The Raptors are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference and many predict that Plumlee will be a lottery pick and therefore it’s unlikely that he’ll go there. 

Realistically I think Plumlee is more likely to end up going to the Orlando Magic who are 14th in the East, and with the recent absence of Dwight Howard the Magic are looking to rebuild and Plumlee could be just the person they’re looking for!

The Bobcats are bottom of the NBA as it stands and with young talent such as Kemba Walker & Michael Kidd Gilchrist one can only hope that if Plumlee was to be drafted there that the team would improve, after all, they can’t get any worse!


This blog post has been sponsored by Spreaditfast - www.spreaditfast.com

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