Duke Basketball: How Mason Plumlee Fits with the Atlanta Hawks

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2013

Jan 30, 2013; Winston Salem, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Mason Plumlee (5) goes up for a shot while Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Arnaud William Adala Moto (45) defends during the second half at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Duke won 75-70. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When will Mason Plumlee hear his name called during the 2013 NBA draft? Will he be a top-10 pick? Will he fall out of the lottery? All of these questions are still up for debate as we lead up to one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent years.

However, if we consider the judgments of NBA experts like Ed Isaacson (Yahoo.com) and Jonathan Wasserman (Bleacher Report), Mason Plumlee will be picked by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.

In their mock drafts, Isaacson has Plumlee going to the Hawks with the 17th pick and Wasserman has the Hawks taking him with the 18th pick.

With Danny Ferry, a former All-American and National Player of the Year at Duke, as the general manager of the organization, it's easy to see why he would be inclined to take Plumlee with one of the team's first-round picks.

Let's assume Isaacson and Wasserman are correct and Plumlee gets picked by the Hawks. Would Atlanta be a good fit for the athletic 6'10" post player?

There is clearly an opportunity for him to contribute in the Hawks rotation. Al Horford is the only legitimate post player currently on the Atlanta roster, and he has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons.

With Plumlee's ability to run the floor and rebound the ball, he certainly can offer the team a different dimension than what it got last season from big men like Zaza Pachulia and Johan Petro.

The combination of Al Horford and Mason Plumlee playing together gives the Hawks a formidable frontline, which they'll need against bigger teams in the Eastern Conference like Brooklyn, Indiana and Chicago.

Having a foundation of character guys like Plumlee and Horford would also give Danny Ferry some optimism as he continues to rebuild the Hawks roster and rid it of massive contracts.

However, whether he's picked by Atlanta or any other NBA team, the biggest question with Mason Plumlee will be his ability to be an effective offensive player. Plumlee's offense became more polished and efficient during his senior season at Duke, but he still struggled at times with establishing position and finishing at the rim.

He'll have to put in a great deal of work to continue to improve his offensive skills, but he would also really benefit from playing with an experienced point guard who can get him easy looks.

As of now, it's unclear what the point guard position will look like for Atlanta, as Devin Harris and Jeff Teague are both free agents.

If Danny Ferry can manage to secure the services of a strong point guard through the draft, trade or free agency, it greatly increases the chances for Plumlee to be a productive offensive player.

Even if it takes time for him to improve his offensive game, Mason Plumlee will bring hustle and intensity to the Hawks organization, which will help change the culture in Atlanta. For a fan base that has questioned the commitment and effort of high-paid players like Joe Johnson and Josh Smith in the past, a guy like Plumlee will be easy for Hawks fans to root for.

And with his unique athletic ability, the high-flying Plumlee is sure to bring some added excitement to The Highlight Factory in Atlanta.