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.
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.