The Brooklyn Nets are looking like they are going to be in contention atop the NBA’s Eastern Conference in the 2013-2014 season. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko are all now under contract with Brooklyn, joining the likes of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. It’s clear that there are a multitude of stars in the BK these days, but it’s their role players that may determine how far they go next season.
One of the key players in the Nets’ rotation may be rookie big man Mason Plumlee, who the Nets took with the 22nd overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. In his senior year at Duke, Plumlee showed great improvement as a scorer and continued to display his athleticism and rebounding ability.
Plumlee showed off his rebounding and defensive promise at the Orlando Summer League a couple of weeks ago, as well as looking relatively solid offensively. In five games Plumlee averaged 13.2 points, seven rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 29.4 minutes per game. The biggest concerns statistically were his 45.8 percent shooting percentage and his 3.4 turnovers per game.
Looking at Plumlee play, it’s immediately clear that he has the length and the physical tools to make things happen on the glass and could potentially cause problems defensively. However, he is still clearly developing as an offensive player and needs to work on his game and skill-level when he gets the ball on the block.
As far as Plumlee’s role for the Nets in the 2013-2014 season goes, it’s still somewhat up in the air as to what he will be able to contribute for Brooklyn. In the frontcourt rotation, he will obviously be behind Garnett and Lopez and will likely also fall behind Reggie Evans as well. That means that he and Mirza Teletovic are likely going to be battling for the minutes left behind by Kris Humphries.
Ultimately, it’s hard to see Plumlee making a huge impact statistically next season given what the Nets already have on their roster. However, if he is able to beat out Teletovic and find minutes, he can be similar to Evans in regards to his ability to attack the boards and defend solidly. How his offensive game will look still remains to be seen, though. In the end, we still need to see what kind of improvements Plumlee makes before training camp and the preseason begin.