I've been extremely optimistic about the 2015-2016 Portland Trail Blazers; so much so that I've caught a bit of flack recently from some fans who don't seem to share my enthusiasm. Some have even gone as far as to claim that I don't base these claims on anything other than sheer insanity.
Mason Plumlee is one of the reasons I think this Portland Trail Blazers team is going to be very good.better than some are expecting them to be.
Plumlee is entering his third NBA season. The numbers are pretty good for a big man on a team that featured one of the best big men in the league in one Brook Lopez. Take a look for yourself.
Plumlee has started 67 games in his brief NBA career. Granted much of that had to do with injuries to Lopez but nonetheless they are still starts in the NBA. In fact some were opining that the Brooklyn Nets were a better basketball team with Plumlee starting at center rather than Lopez. While his other numbers don't exactly scream Hall of Fame his per 36 minutes stats are rather encouraging.
Double digit points and rebounds with a block and a steal a game are pretty good reasons to be optimistic aren't they? If those numbers don't catch your eye than maybe this highlight reel from a game last season against the Rockets will.
I know it's just a highlight reel but these things stood out to me.
- Plumlee is creative on offense
- Plumlee runs the floor well and is very athletic
- Catches the ball in traffic very well for a big man
- Knows how to fill the lane and finish
- Plays defense
Again, just a highlight reel but the skill set is there. Let's take a look at Plumlee's shot chart from 2014-2015.
As you can see the bulk of Plumlee's scoring will be from 8 feet in or less. Mainly those shots are dunks or like we saw in the video above hook shots or wide open in the paint jumpers. Range isn't something Plumlee has exhibited in the past nor should he be expected to as he does so many other things very well.
The other thing about Plumlee is this; the situation in Brooklyn wasn't the most stable environment for a young player to develop in. Plumlee had two different coaches with completely different ideas on how the game should be played. Let's also keep in mind the cast of veterans Plumlee was surrounded by who seemed to not like being in the situation they were in yet Plumlee still found a way to improve his game.
Fantasy Basketball Projection for 2015-2016
In all likelihood Mason Plumlee will get the bulk of the minutes at the center position. He may not initially be the starting center but he'll play at least 25 minutes a night for the 2016 Portland Trail Blazers. On most nights the still developing Plumlee should contribute double digits in scoring and rebounding with a block or two and a steal a night. He may even add an assist or two a night for good measure.
Where does he get drafted? I'd be comfortable drafting Plumlee in any size league and scoring format. Besides the scoring I mentioned he's a career 60 percent shooter from the field and if there is any reason to pause it would be his less than desirable 54 percent free throw shooting but I wouldn't let that deter me from drafting Plumlee in 2015-2016. More than likely he'll go after round eight and if he's still hanging around in the later rounds grab him and be the smartest owner in your draft.
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