Mason Plumlee is the best player on the best team in basketball. It seems pretty obvious that the Duke power forward should be Player of the Year.
The 6'10" Plumlee is having a superb season. He's averaging 19.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He's been the key to Duke's success.
While there is still plenty of season left, and many things can happen, as of now, Plumlee is playing outstanding basketball. He was at his best against fourth-ranked Ohio State, when he scored 21 and pulled down 17 boards in a 73-68 win over the Buckeyes.
Plumlee is shooting a remarkable 64 percent from the field, way above his career average. He's also shooting better from the line.
Is this an anomaly? Is Plumlee's hot start just a mirage? We say no. Duke is not 11-0 by accident, and Plumlee is the leading scorer on a team with some pretty good players. The Blue Devils have five players scoring in double digits, but it's Plumlee who leads the way.
Plumlee is not flashy and probably will not be the first overall pick in the NBA draft. He doesn't wow and is not a transcendent talent. But Plumlee is a reliable, durable and solid player who fuels the Blue Devils' success. They would not be as good without him.
And that's an important measure in determining the Player of the Year. Not only is it the best player, but it's the player who is most indispensable to his team. That's Plumlee. Could Michigan survive without Trey Burke? Probably. Could Indiana succeed without Cody Zeller? We think so.
Duke is not as naturally talented as they have been in the past—they don't have Austin Rivers; they don't have Kyrie Irving. But they have the steady and solid Plumlee.
That deserves recognition since he is elevating the play of his teammates. As long as he continues this play, and as long as Duke continues its strong play, Plumlee is the natural top choice for Player of the Year.