Yesterday afternoon, Former Duke Star and 1st round pick, Mason Plumlee made his debut for the Brooklyn Nets in the Orlando Summer League. Impressively, Mason came out the gates with a full court dribble, spin move poster dunk over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, that got everyone, (including the spectators on the sidelines), out their seats.
Really? Who would have ever thought Mason would dribble the ball the length of the court against an athletic, guard oriented team and make that type of a game-changing play? In the NBA, coaches want to see development and consistency in their players.
Mason demonstrates that he is continuing to work on his game nonstop. Despite playing against a proven, rough and rugged big man in Andre Drummond, Mason held his own and dictated his own pace throughout the game. Playing at his own pace, Mason slowed down Drummond and Tony Mitchell who blatantly were trying to punish Mason in the post with their physique and post moves. Starting at the beginning of the game, Andre Drummond established his presence early with a put back dunk over Plumlee. Instantly, Mason maintained composure and held his head high, knowing there was much more basketball to play. That act by Mason shows maturity in his game which, in the past, Mason would have tried to get even with Andre, and retaliating for his own personal good, rather than putting the team first.
Furthermore, in evaluating Mason’s first Summer League game (including Jason Kidd debuting for the Nets), Mason did pretty darn well. 10 points, 14 rebounds with a blocked shot is an impressive way to start your NBA career. Averaging a double-double his senior year at Duke and a consensus second- team All American, if he can at least average 8 points, 8 rebounds off the bench, he could be thought of as a steal for Brooklyn.
Duke big-men usually struggle early at the next level. In fact players such as Shelden Williams and Shavlik Randolph, who demonstrated promise in college, often spend time on the trade block in the NBA, due to lack of productiveness. Mason will change that trend. In all honesty, he has the willingness to be one of the “best bigs” out of Duke University ever in my opinion.
NBA GM’s said this during pre-draft:
“Mason may never be a star, but he creates his own ceiling”. Meaning the sky is the limit for Mason. Moreover, I would prefer him to develop at least two go-to moves which will make him unpredictable to guard. Gaining 10 pounds of muscle will help him in the paint and compete for more minutes with an all-star filled roster. He is athletic for a “big” and runs the floor which in a Jason Kidd offense his very assisting.
Some strengths of Mason are as followed.
He competes every play, has a high motor for running the floor, and is consistent. Some weaknesses he could improve on before the season are getting stronger in the weight room and developing his offensive game. Last but not least, as I mentioned before, he will have tom improve from becoming too predictable with his post moves. At times, Plumlee seems to think about more, than playing the game of basketball. His moves seem in a sense pre-determined. Although his moves seem predictable, Mason should use the hook shot of his more. It was effective at Duke and with practice could be an attribute for his success at the NBA level. We all know Plumlee will compete and has tons of upside which separates him and makes him unique. Will it transition for a productive rookie campaign season? Undetermined, but after yesterday’s performance, the future in Brooklyn seems promising.
Here’s a look at the posterizing dunk: