The Brooklyn Nets selected Mason Plumlee with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The 7-foot Center, out of Duke University, was projected to be chosen somewhere between picks 10 and 25 and many thought pre-draft that the Nets would select Plumlee. The Nets selection was clearly overshadowed last night by the potential trade with the Boston Celtics but Plumlee should fit in well with the team, especially with the pending acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Plumlee was one of the most athletic big men in the draft and will add immediate depth to the front court. The most important attributes that Plumlee brings to the Nets is size, athleticism and a chance to be a solid pick and roll option for Deron Williams. The Nets desperately needed a backup center for Brook Lopez and Plumlee will be able to give them a chance to rest him. Assuming the Garnett trade goes through he will be teamed up with Garnett, Lopez and Reggie Evans in the front court and potentially Andray Blatche if they can re-sign him. Plumlee will be the youngest and most athletic of all of the Nets big men and could help them to run more, which is one thing Coach Jason Kidd has stressed that he wants to do more of this season. In a pick and roll his big body and explosiveness to the rim could be a great fit with Deron Williams.
Plumlee was a top rebounder in college but it will have to be seen whether or not this will translate against NBA centers. Defensively Plumlee will have to really improve his skills and his motor on that end of the court. He was criticized in college for letting guys get to the basket too easily and Garnett might have a thing or two to say if he continues that trend in Brooklyn. Offensively, if Plumlee wants to improve he needs to develop a better back to the basket game. He got better year after year in the post while at Duke, but he will really need to work at it in order to put up numbers against the likes of Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert.
Overall, this is a good pick for the Nets. Gorgui Dieng would have been ideal but he went a pick earlier and the only other prospects that made sense at 22 were shooters Allen Crabbe and Reggie Bullock. However with the acquisitions of Pierce and Terry, it seemed the more immediate necessity for the Nets was in the frontcourt.
Don’t expect Plumlee to ever be a star in this league, he will give the Nets good minutes off the bench starting this season and should develop into a reliable backup center for years to come. This is a very low risk, low reward pick. Plumlee will score 6-8 points per game and grab 4-5 rebounds per game for his career and will provide solid minutes for Lopez to rest while adding a crowd pleasing dunk here and there. If you are a Nets fan you have to be happy with the quality coming out of the 22nd pick and the immediate impact Plumlee can provide.
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