SB Nation is posting scouting reports of each prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft. Learn more about Duke's Mason Plumlee.
NAME: Mason Plumlee.
AGE ON DRAFT DAY: 23 years, three months.
MEASUREMENTS: 7'0, 238 pounds, 6'11 wingspan, 9'0 standing reach.
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RELEVANT ADVANCED STATS: 11.5% assist percentage. Bad things won't necessarily happen when Plumlee has the ball in his hands.
SB NATION BIG BOARD POSITION: No. 20.
NBA CEILING: Tiago Splitter.
NBA FLOOR: Andris Biedrins.
JONATHAN TJARKS' ANALYSIS
The middle of the fighting Plumlees at Duke, Mason is the best NBA prospect in the family. Unlike his older brother Miles, a first-round pick of the Indiana Pacers last year, Mason is more than just an athlete.
As a freshman, Plumlee was a rotation player on Duke's 2009 national title team, but he didn't fully come into his own until his senior year. A Wooden Award candidate this season, he averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, 1.5 blocks and one steal a game on 60-percent shooting.
Playing as the only big man in Duke's four-out offense, he controlled the paint on both sides of the ball. He finished over the top of smaller defenders and punished double teams by finding the open man. He even improved his free-throw shooting percentage to 68 percent.
The question is whether Plumlee can be as effective in a similar role at the next level. At 7'0 and 240 pounds with a 6'11 wingspan, he lacks the length to be a high-level rim protector, and his high center of gravity will allow him to be pushed out of the paint by stronger centers.
At the age of 23 and with a relatively narrow frame, he probably can't add more weight. Unfortunately, while he has the athleticism to play on the perimeter, he doesn't have much range on his jumper and he's far more comfortable playing closer to the basket.
Where he will excel is in the pick-and-roll game on both sides of the ball. His quick feet allow him to cover ground quickly and his explosive leaping ability will make him an easy target for alley-oops.
Due to his lack of size and shot-creating ability, Plumlee is a somewhat limited player, but he's also smart enough to play within his role. He's a relatively safe pick who should have a long career as a useful NBA big man.
DRAFT EXPRESS SCOUTING REPORT
OTHER SB NATION SCOUTING REPORTS
I don't think Mason Plumlee is an NBA starting center. Having said that, I do think he has a lot of value as a defensive, energetic rebounder off the bench. He reminds me a lot of Meyers Leonard, who was drafted in the lottery by Portland last year. The reason Leonard probably still goes over him is because of the ability to possibly develop a jump shot (therefore becoming much more viable offensively), but Plumlee might actually be a little bit more athletic. I think his best-case scenario is probably a good Kendrick Perkins-type player who can rebound and play tough interior defense, and his worst case is a more athletic Cole Aldrich, someone can barely get off of the bench.
The problem with Mason Plumlee is the fact that he spent four years at a premier basketball school in Duke and we still don't have any idea on how he'll pan out at the next level. Plumlee has nice athleticism and has improved his fundamentals, yet other attributes of his game are completely underwhelming. Could Plumlee become one of the better scorers in the league when playing on the post, if he makes some subtle improvements to his game? Maybe. But could he be destined to be your fourth or fifth big off a team's bench too? Well, yes, that's the problem. Plumlee has a relatively high ceiling but a low floor too.
It makes most sense to just look at Plumlee and ask yourself this question, "what has he shown so far at Duke?" He's proven that he can be an efficient player. Sometimes he will perform at a high level, other times he will struggle. Plumlee is what he is, nothing more, nothing less. Perhaps Plumlee will be a role player in the NBA and that's it. But what's wrong with that? The NBA needs role players and he has proven that, at the least, he can be that.
Mason Plumlee is one of the less talked-about big men in the coming draft, and I'm not sure why. He's had a very good college career at Duke, and has shown great ability as a finisher and a rebounder. He is one of the more athletic big men in the draft, and his agility and quickness makes him a good candidate to play the four as well as the five at the next level, though he will have to improve his jumpshot in order to do so. He has improved every year as a Blue Devil, posting his best stats now as a senior with 17 points and 11 rebounds per game, though his ability was always apparent.
Plumlee is a 6'11 center from Duke that is extremely experienced. The upside for Plumlee probably isn't near what it is for someone like Cody Zeller or Alex Len, but he is someone that is going to be able to contribute quickly. If you are looking for a solid defender and a finisher and rebounder Plumlee is your man. Plumlee isn't an outstanding offensive player, but he can do many other things well.
For more coverage, visit SB Nation's NBA Draft 2013 section.