Sophomore center wants to start, comfortable at power forward
There hasn’t been a whole lot going on in the Brooklyn Nets’ world over the past month, but Mason Plumlee continues to find his way into the papers. First it was because he started working out with Team USA and then because he made the 2014-16 Team USA roster and had a good chance to make the 2014 World Cup roster as well.
All of that attention lead to a quote from Plumlee earlier in the month where he said that he didn’t know what his role on this Brooklyn Nets team would be, but that he wanted to start. Of course everyone wants to start, but with Brook Lopez expected to reprise his role at center, at least as long as his foot holds up, it didn’t seem like Plumlee had a great chance.
However, Plumlee has been working hard on his game. His experience with Team USA can’t be measured, but is certainly a huge plus. Now Plumlee seems to think that he can contribute on the Nets as a power forward.
“I’m definitely comfortable at power forward,” Plumlee told Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News. “I’m a very good passer; I can see the floor, and I can put the ball on the floor. I don’t know what they’re looking to do, if they’re trying to stay small but what made that work last year was (Paul Pierce), so I can’t imagine we do that again. I think we would play two bigs and how coach Hollins has played traditionally has been that way.
“I think so,” Plumlee added when asked if he could play next to Lopez. “He demands so much attention, you kind let him be the focal point scoring wise and then you kind of complement him. So it can be a good two-man tandem. Him and (Kevin Garnett), him and me, me and Kevin, however you want to do it.”
Plumlee referred to the fact that new Nets coach Lionel Hollins, when he was with the Grizzlies, used to make a habit of pairing big-men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol on the floor at the same time to great effect. The issues with the Nets, though, include the fact that neither Plumlee nor Lopez are exceptional rebounders. KG is much better than either, but he can barely play 20 minutes a night anymore either.
Can the Nets survive with two non-rebounding big men on the floor at the same time? It probably depends. The biggest thing is the development of Plumlee himself. He seems to be focused on shooting and passing this summer as his defensive game is already solid. If he hasn’t improved his rebounding at all, though, it will make it hard to plan on having both he and Lopez out on the floor at the same time. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Bondy’s article on Plumlee also noted how he is currently lifting more than he ever has in his life. As good a sign as any. Plumlee was a bit of a surprise last season when he went from a guy with an unknown role to being the one of the team’s most athletic players. It certainly seems like he is poised to take another big step this year and open even more eyes in the process.