Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee named to NBA All-Rookie First Team

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Mason Plumlee exited Cameron Indoor for the last time. The hard work that Plumlee put in at Duke shaped his future success in the NBA.

Plumlee was a major factor in all four years he played as a Blue Devil, as he grabbed 1,088 rebounds and had 1,384 points. He still holds the ACC record in career defensive rebounds with 755.

“Mason has got a chance to be really, really good,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski back in 2009. “He has the skills of a guard and the body of a big man, and a great basketball mind.  He’s very competitive, he likes the stage, and he’s comfortable with the ball.

Coach Krzyzewski was right about a lot of things. Plumlee has turned into a “really, really good’ player who plays on the biggest stage: the NBA.

He doesn’t just play in the NBA either. Plumlee dominated during his rookie season. He dominated so much that he was named to the 2013-2014 NBA All-Rookie first team. Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. rounded out the rest of the first team.

He was voted into the first team because of how he handled adversity. He a whopping three total minutes in the first three games of the season, riding the bench while veterans Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez took the court. Lopez suffered a season ending injury in December when he broke his foot and Garnett injured his back in March, forcing him to sit out 19 games.

With Plumlee filling in for Garnett in the starting role, the Brooklyn Nets had a 14-5 record. Even when Garnett became healthy again and took his starting spot back, Plumlee still netted 30 minutes in the final regular game of the season where he scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds.

Plumlee posted the best Player Efficiency Rating (19.0) of all the rookies this season. He also led the rookies in Win Shares (4.7). Plumlee led the Nets in field goal percentage (65.9 percent).

One other statistic to note would be that when Plumlee was on floor for the Nets, they averaged 106.0 points. When he wasn’t on the floor, they averaged 104.4. Granted, a lot other factors play into this, but the statistic can speak for itself.

One thing’s for sure. Plumlee is going to continue to be a phenomenal player and coach Krzyzewski realized that before a ton of people.

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Tags: Basketball Brooklyn Nets Duke Blue Devils Mason Plumlee NBA All-Rookie

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