The Brooklyn Nets had only one selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, the 22nd overall pick to be exact. Obviously they made other headlines the night of the draft by trading for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, but they also used their lone draft pick to select the big, athletic big man out of Duke, Mason Plumlee.
Brooklyn got their first look at Plumlee in an NBA environment at the Orlando Summer League, where the rookie got a good bit of run and performed well. In five games he averaged 13.2 points, seven boards, 2.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 29.4 minutes per game. Still developing his offensive game, he shot only 45.8 percent from the floor in Orlando, but did impress by shooting 68.8 percent from the charity stripe, a problematic area of problem for him in college.
Coming into training camp, Plumlee has to be in one of the best situations in the NBA in terms of who he’ll be able to learn from. Playing with and being taught by guys like Garnett and Brook Lopez is something that will be hugely beneficial for the rookie in the long run.
Looking at the short-term, though, it doesn’t seem like Plumlee will be in the NBA much this season. In an interview with GoDuke.com, Nets general manager Billy King talked about how Plumlee was coming along well and learning from the veterans, but also mentioned that the rookie will likely spend much of the season in the D-League.
Considering the deep frontcourt in Brooklyn that includes Garnett, Lopez, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, Mirza Teletovic and even the position-flexible Andrei Kirilenko, sending Plumlee to the D-League for the majority of the season is a wise move by Brooklyn. If he were to spend the year up with the Nets, there likely wouldn’t be a great deal of minutes for him to see, which would somewhat slow his development. In the D-League, though, he’ll be able to see the floor often and continue to work on his timing defensive and on the intricacies of his offensive game.
Plumlee has elite athleticism for a big man and, going forward, the Nets could have a quality pro prospect on their hands. With the way this Brooklyn team is currently constructed, though, sending Plumlee down to the D-League is what’s best for him and the team.
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