Draft profiles: Mason Plumlee, 7'0, 245 lbs, C, Duke

Draft profiles: Mason Plumlee, 7'0, 245 lbs, C, Duke

While nothing to write home about, Plumlee is an above average athlete at the Center Position that becomes a hustle player at the next level.  Plumlee runs the court well with decent vertical and lateral speed and should at least become a serviceable center at the next level given his overall athletic package.


At 7’0, 245, Plumlee shows a nice build while maintaining above average athletic ability.  He shows a great lower base on holding off post-up players.  He uses his size and aggressiveness to maintain good low-post position, box out opponents, and sets excellent picks.

Off-Court Issues

There are no reported issues or any of the Plumlee brothers.

Basketball IQ and Will to Want It

Plumlee possesses a great basketball IQ despite a lack of highly developed skills.  He understands occupying space defensively, his roles and limitations on offensive, and how to be a great effort player.  On defense, while not tremendous laterally, he does use his length and muscle mass well and learned to use his body without fouling. While his block numbers are not overwhelming, he learned to go straight up and not foul leaning over.

Offensively, Plumlee learned the art of low-post positioning.  While NBA Players are bigger than college, in today’s standard, Plumlee should still have a nice size advantage and get low post position against most opposing centers.  He should score some due to strong positioning despite having a somewhat robotic and predictable repertoire. He uses his frame rather well for setting bone-crushing picks, and if a player traps on the pick and roll, he makes good cuts to the basket and makes himself an excellent target.

What should translate at the next level beside rebounding, is his pure hustle ability.  Plumlee does well out-running meaning opponents by leaking out if another teammate rebounds and Plumlee has great frontline speed for a Center.  Also, as mentioned Plumlee is a very good rebounder.  Plumlee gets those boards by positioning, understanding angles, boxing out, and pure hustle.  To me, Plumlee is a winning type player by his ability to be a tough, but hard-working player.


Skill-wise, Plumlee is somewhat limited.  He typically finishes with a hook over his right shoulder, occasionally left, but doesn't have a lot of counter moves if his initial low post move is stopped.  He also struggles to make the correct pass out at times when denied a good look in the post and averaged nearly two turnovers per assist.  He also lacks any type of jump shot to force opponents to honor him away from the basket.  Stating all this, Plumlee is not a complete liability and knows his limitations.

Defensively, while Plumlee is a good overall defender, he's likely not an impact defender. He's a big bodied lane clogger.  He does not get many block shots (1.5 per game) at his position, especially given his size.  While he is a good athlete at his position, he struggles laterally and can be beaten somewhat easily if switched against a wing/point guard creating type player.


Overall, Mason Plumlee looks like a solid role player at the next level with a chance at a long career coming off the bench given the lack of size in the NBA presently.  In this draft, Centers are readily available and based on numerous teams scouting reports, Plumlee may go late lottery or late mid-first round.  Some teams might take him because he is a safe pick in a weak draft or he may slide due to lack of upside.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

Plumlee provides many solid intangibles and would play for the Bulls if drafted.  Stating that, I feel there are possible other centers to draft if we must draft a center.  For example, Gorgui Dieng provides great defense, can move laterally much better (a staple in Coach Thibodeau’s Defense), has a mid-range jumper, and can pass offensively.  Stating this, I would not complain if we take Plumlee even if it is unlikely he slides down to pick 20.  On top of this he does many little things that go unnoticed to a casual observer but might fit well in the GarPax regime.


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  • I wouldn't complain much either. I think he will either be a bust or have a career like that of a Jeff Foster or a Jason Collins, a solid pro but nothing to write home about. My fingers are crossed for Dieng!

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I don't think he will be a bust if drafted by the Bulls. I would rather draft someone else though!

  • I understand some people like his athleticism in a big, but I just don't see Plumlee doing a whole lot in the NBA(other then rounding out somebody's bench). He really looks to have no offensive skills that translate in my opinion. That's not to say he's not athletic in some ways but he's not a vocal leader or has that much presence and from watching him play and seconded by scouting reports he is not a superior defender "lacks great anticipation, lacks great defensive ability." Omer Asik he is not. I'll have to pass. I understand though people wanting to take a chance on an athletic big, and hoping he pans out. Just not seeing it with this kid.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I somewhat agree - I just think he will have enough smarts/athleticism to be at least a 10 mpg back-up. Still would rather draft someone else though!

  • Hey Kev, did you see this tweet mast week at the draft combine?

    "Shams Charania ‏@ShamsCharania 16 May
    Bulls will work out 12 prospects Monday: Rice, Crane (Crabbe), Carmichael, Hill, Smell (Snell), Hardaway, Howell, Mitchell, Green, Leslie, Ledo, Jerrett."

    If you get stuck on who you want to profile, you could use some of these guys. Keep up the good work.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I will get to most of those - I do think Snell has some under-rated talent though!

  • An interesting draft related traded from one of the ESPN insiders. Probably indicative of the trade value for Deng, i.e. not worth a lottery pick.

    1. The Cleveland Cavaliers trade Anderson Varejao and the Nos. 19 and 31 picks to the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng and Marquis Teague.

    If Cleveland is going to make a push to bring LeBron James back to Ohio during the summer of 2014, that process begins on draft night as the Cavaliers craft their roster for 2013-14. Part of that is going to involve adding a veteran to the rotation while young players Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller are all playing on their rookie contracts. Once some or all of those contracts are extended in a few years, the cap wiggle room will get tight.

    Varejao had an excellent rapport with James when they played together before, but he's superfluous at this point. Thompson showed signs of becoming a younger and more athletic version of Varejao, though they don't really play the same position. However, Cleveland has Zeller around to man the middle, with top draft pick Nerlens Noel getting a full development year behind him once he's able to play. Teague gives Cleveland a much-needed backup for Irving.

    Also, let's not forget how James has thrived while primarily playing the 4 in Miami this season. There is no reason whatsoever he and Deng couldn't play together in a small, quick starting lineup or even as the wings in a big lineup.

    From the Bulls' standpoint, the deal accomplishes a couple of things. They would save about $5 million in the difference between the salaries of Deng and Varejao. Chicago could subsequently use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer a year earlier than expected, creating a beastly defensive big-man rotation of Joakim Noah, Varejao and Taj Gibson. That trio would make a nice eventual complement to European sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic, whom Chicago is expected to bring stateside in 2014. Jimmy Butler moves into Deng's spot, which he occupied so well during this season's playoffs.

    After buying out Richard Hamilton, the Bulls would be able to retain Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli, and would have draft picks at Nos. 19, 20 and 31 to fill out the roster. Varejao has a partially-guaranteed season remaining on his contract for 2014-15, which could be the deal-breaker. That's if Gar Forman and John Paxson are really planning to swing for the fences and go after a max-type player in 2014. Even as it is, the Bulls would have to do some serious cap tap dancing to make that happen. To proactively move Deng rather than wait for his contract to expire after this season makes sense.

    This deal has some merit as a way for the Bulls to restructure their roster and salary cap space going forward without losing Deng for nothing."

    While I love Varajao as a Noah clone, he biggest problem is that Varajao is very injury prone, and who knows what would happen to him playing for Thibs.

    The Bulls would have essentially 3 late #1 picks to stock the roster with young cheap talent, and as pointed out maybe have the money to keep Nate and Belli. I am not a huge Teague fan, although he likely would have been a lottery pick in this years draft had he stayed at Kentucky.

    What say you Bulls fans. I'd think about it long and hard, but I would have to analyze that partial guarantee that Varejao has in 2014 very hard.

  • In reply to BigWay:


  • In reply to BigWay:

    I wouldn't do this trade man! I think you could get a better trade for Deng. Either salary cap clearance and decent draft pick or a more offensive threat type player but not as good overall!

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I would love to have Varajao on my team, but like you said he is very injury prone. I would be surprised if the Bulls traded Deng because I think Thibs will want to see Butler, Deng, Gibson, and Noah on the court together. That could be an all time great defensive lineup. And as for Teague, don't forget, in about a year the Bulls will be looking for a backup for Rose and I think Teague may be as good as you could find. When he came out, almost everyone agreed that he was a few years away from contributing, but he showed some signs that he may be ahead of that mark.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I would like Verajao too, but he is very redundant to Noah and I don't know if he would like coming off the bench. If we got Verajao and that meant trading Noah for Love than that is a different story.

  • Kevin, what are your thoughts on Jackie Carmichael? Some have him going middle second, some don't have him on their board. From the scouting report I saw, I think he would fit great in Chicago and could maybe be converted into a smaller Center.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Carmichael is probably going to be a late first/high second by time draft occurs in my opinion. As teams get to know the players more, he might stand out to winning teams because he can board, hit a mid-range jumper, and is tough. He knows his role too!

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Taj Gibson

    Like Kevin said, he should go late first, early second...most likely early second. If Taj was traded and we picked up something and an early second, I would target Carmichael (although Muscala intrigues me).

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