City Sports Report

Mason Plumlee Is Rising To The Occasion

Mason Plumlee will participate in Sprite Slam Dunk contest

Coming into this season, there were many question marks about the big men of the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Garnett had decided to come back for another year with the team. But at his age and with his declining skills, how much could he do? With Brook Lopez, he was injured early in the season and lost for the rest of 2013-2014 to the team. He was coming back this year, but no one was sure what to expect and how long he could even stay healthy. And then there was Mason Plumlee. The second-year player from Duke was still developing and the Nets were not sure what they would get from him on both ends of the floor. At the beginning of the season, Brook stayed to his pattern of getting hurt. He has already missed some games this season due to different ailments. As far as Kevin Garnett, he is not even averaging 10 points per game as a starter for this team. And Mason Plumlee was as uneven as can be to start the season. He would have some games where he would score in double-figures and others where he would only have two or four points. Part of the uneven production from Plumlee was due to being in and out of the starting lineup because of Brook Lopez and his status. But some would wonder if he would even began to play up to the level of what some expected.

Well, it may have took Plumlee a while, but it seems like something has definitely clicked.   In the last ten games, Plumlee has averaged 17 points per game and 9 rebounds per game. That is great considering the circumstances in which he is playing in. And as a result of his production, he has helped the Nets pick up their inside play and claw their way to .500. When describing Mason’s play, Coach Hollins said he noticed something different. When asked about Plumlee recently, Hollins had this to say: “Mason made a conscious decision to just go out and play. No matter what I say, he just goes out and plays.” Mason is definitely playing with a hunger on the court he has never played with. And because of that, he is now giving the Nets something they desperately need. He is helping lead them to be better and in addition is giving them hope that he can be a cornerstone for the future of that team.

But there is more of a difference than what numbers he is putting up on the court. The difference in Plumlee can be seen in his demeanor on the court also. There used to be times in his rookie campaign that he would be quiet and not as involved with the team on the court. He was sort of like a big guy that was trying to find his way. And obviously during his rookie campaign, he was trying to figure it out. But as his rookie season went on, he began to show flashes of a personality and having an effect on this team. Flash forward to this season and Mason was showing flashes again of having an emotional impact on this team, but as it stands right now, he is becoming the emotional barometer of this team. And that has happened because of the tutelage of future Hall Of Famer Kevin Garnett. Garnett has been the emotional leader on the court for all of the teams he has been with. He has not been that with the Nets, but he has been imparting his knowledge of the NBA game on Plumlee since he has been there in Brooklyn. And because of that constant mentorship from Garnett, Plumlee has now got more of an edge about him. He has taken on the personality of Garnett for this team. And he is better for doing so. Now does Plumlee have the same type of talent that Garnett had? Absolutely not. But he does get the mental part of the game more with Garnett constantly in his ear.

But the biggest thing that could have had this effect on Plumlee was his experience with the US Men’s basketball team this summer. Of course, a lot of people could not figure out why he was even on the team outside of the Duke connection with Coach K, but no matter how he got there, the experience has proven to be worth it for him. Following the lead of another big man, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Plumlee has begun to take that next step as an NBA big man. Of course he is not ever going to perform at the level of Davis, but he has done well and been even better than many had expected. The experience of going against the likes of Davis, Sacramento’s Demarcus Cousins and Denver’s Kenneth Faried everyday in practice have proven to be invaluable to the growth and jump in play he has made. And as a result, he has looked more comfortable on the floor with guys that were supposed to be doing better than he was. Plumlee now knows he belongs in the NBA and that he can compete with any other big man that crosses his path. He has done so in practice with Team USA, and now he has translated that confidence he gained there fully to the NBA.

It may have took a while or Mason Plumlee, but he has proven that he belongs now and is contributing to the Nets. Although the Nets may not say they were not expecting this, I believe they have been pleasantly surprised with the progress of their young big man. And I can definitely say that he has opened up some eyes (including yours truly) with his outstanding play over the last few games. For the Nets, they may not have a ton of young pieces to build around, but they can take solace in knowing that Plumlee can definitely be one of those pieces for them.

For more sports talk, feel free to contact me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

5 Comments

  1. Jason

    January 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Great article on the Plum Tree as I call him Mike Patton…… I think Williams coming off the bench has helped him and that team overall. I like him he plays hard and I think will get a lot better.

  2. Willie

    January 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    As a nets fan.. Plums has been an awesome surprise.. Remembering the draft.. Nets were gonna take deing from louisville but mini took him, and nets took plum instead… Fate works things out….

    • Mike Patton

      January 3, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Indeed fate has some weird and strange trips but can work things out thru those trips as well.

  3. Shanitra

    January 4, 2015 at 3:12 am

    This is a big surprise for the Nets and a very good one at that. Plumlee was good at Duke and I definately was a doubter but he has proved many of us wrong. He keeps this up and there is much more in his future and long term options.

  4. Lee Love

    January 5, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Plum showed some signs in his rookie year that the potential was there but he wasn’t consistent and perhaps shy to get overly physical and demonstrative. He’s seems to have combined the mental with his physical talent which will prove to be a big bonus for Brooklyn.

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