No. 19: Mason Plumlee, Forward, Duke University
Last year, a broken wrist forced Mason Plumlee to the sidelines. The injury forced him to miss the end of summer practice and the season’s first six games.
Once on the court, Plumlee did show some flashes of the NBA-type skills that make the scouts touch themselves. However, he certainly struggled to keep up with the pace of college ball.
First though, let’s talk about those NBA skills.
It’s been a long time since Blue Devils nation has seen a player the size of Mason handle the ball as well as he did. He can go left, he can go right, and he can even lead the fast break. He should remind everyone of a young Christian Laettner, although he did fail to put up Laettner-type numbers his freshman year.
Laettner averaged nine points per game in 16 minutes, pulling down nearly five rebounds per game, while shooting a studly 72 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, Plumlee averaged four points per game and three rebounds, shooting 46 percent.
The fact is, Plumlee always seemed a step behind the action his freshman year. He would often get the ball, usually up high, and would simply pause, thinking, waiting for something to happen.
It’s called game speed, and this is what was lost with the broken wrist. When things start to click, he’ll know what to do with the rock before he even gets it.
Having said that, look for Plumlee’s game to take a huge step forward in 2010-11. For one, he’s starting, so he’s not going to have much choice. His minutes (14.1 per game last year) will double, as I suspect he’ll be playing alongside his brother.
The most important factor that will assist Plumlee will be the offensive style change. With Scheyer, Zoubek, and Thomas having graduated, long gone will be the motion offense and in should be the dribble-drive.