Years from now, when barber shop talk brings up the topic of the 2013 NBA Draft, the likelihood is that two players will immediately be mentioned for being the best of the class – Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.
Judging by their rookie numbers, that would be a fair enough assessment. Oladipo has averaged 14 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season, while Carter-Williams has been good for 16.6 points, 6.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds a night.
But before gears shift into debating who the biggest bust of that summer’s draft was – let’s give Anthony Bennett and the Cleveland Cavaliers the benefit of the doubt for now – Mason Plumlee should be given recognition as one of the bigger steals of the night.
With the 22nd pick, the Brooklyn Nets were hoping they could land a nice backup, but instead found a player who will be a stud in this league for years to come, so long as he remains healthy.
How Plumlee dropped down to No. 22 is quite a mystery. He may possess the height of a traditional center, but the athleticism he demonstrates – which was very noticeable coming out of college – at seven-feet tall is absolutely remarkable. He can run and jump better than a great deal of players at his position around the league.
And although he’ll definitely need to work on developing an outside jumpshot moving forward, Plumlee has outstanding footwork and a variety of low-post moves that will allow him to grow into a double-digit scorer moving forward in his career. His fearlessness, which was exhibited through his game-saving block of LeBron James earlier in the week, cannot be understated as well.
As he continues to mature, Plumlee will establish himself as a true starting-lineup talent. He’s already looked well beyond his years while filling in for Kevin Garnett and playing alongside Brooklyn’s starters for an extended period of time this season.
Just give it a few years and Plumlee will definitely be recognized as one of the biggest steals in his draft class.