The NBA draft is less than a week away, and the Duke Blue Devils have three potential picks for this year’s draft. The highest of those picks will be Mason Plumlee. He could go in the lottery, as it appears his game will translate well in to the NBA. Let’s evaluate what he can bring to a NBA team.
Plumlee was a center in college and will be in the NBA as well. At 6-foot-11 and 235-pounds, he will be one of the bigger centers in the league. He will have to put on more weight so other centers like Roy Hibbert and Alex Len won’t be able to push him around. We saw Mason play Len this past season, and he didn’t look like a lottery pick when Duke played Maryland. Those games are probably a big reason Len is getting mentioned as a top five pick. Some experts even have him going number one to Cleveland.
Plumlee’s game transitions well in to the NBA. This could be a great time for Plumlee to enter the NBA because of the lack of true centers in the league right now. He can have great success against the smaller centers in the league and is athletic enough to get up and down the court before some of the bigger centers.
He has developed a good post game in his four years at Duke and also has learned much about the game. He developed a hook shot along with the post moves, and that could be a good one two combo in the NBA. We have seen him dominate games against smaller centers, but have also seen him taken out of a game by taller and stronger centers like Len.
Plumlee does have a lot to work on before he can be a focal point on a NBA team. First and foremost, he needs to work on staying out of foul trouble. That has been a problem for him in the past when he picks up bad fouls early on in the game. He will also need to learn how to play defense without fouling and understand when to step up on a ball handler or stay back and let them come to him. This is going to be something he has to work on to get quality minutes in the NBA.
The other thing he will have to work on is establishing his position in the post and keeping it. Numerous times last year against stronger centers, Plumlee was easily pushed off his spot. This is something he can’t afford next year, because he doesn’t have a jump shot and the only thing he will be able to do is go to the hook shot. This is a good option, but he will have to increase his range on it while at the next level.
Plumlee has a lot of potential and was coached well at Duke. In the right situation he could start next year. But being picked in the lottery doesn’t mean he will start right away. He could be coming off the bench his first few years. He is supposed to be a late lottery pick to a mid- first round selection. An interesting situation that could be good for him would be going twentieth to Chicago. This could be an interesting spot because the Bulls need a backup center badly and he could learn a lot from Joakim Noah and could be the Bulls starting center in a few years. He could play right away off the bench and have immediate impact.