Duke's Mason Plumlee Talks Blazers Workout
TUALATIN – You know what you're getting in Duke center Mason Plumlee: an active athletic big man that isn't afraid to get down and do the dirty work.
On any given night, he has one of those “wow” moments that gets fans out of their seats. He is proven, having played four years in the ACC Conference on some of the biggest stages in collegiate basketball.
Every year he has gotten better. On offense and defense, his game has matured to the point where he posted numbers of 17.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.4 blocks in 34.7 minutes per game during his senior campaign.
Yet, there are possibly four or five centers that could go ahead of him in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft and they all happen to be underclassmen.
Plumlee, 23, is not bashful about saying he is the best center in this draft class and he made it known after his workout with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, owners of picks No. 10, 39, 40 and 45, that it absolutely infuriates him that onlookers believe he is close to reaching his ceiling.
“I feel I'm the best big in the draft,” Plumlee told CSNNW.com. “I would say that's the biggest chip on my shoulder when people say he is what he is or he can't get any better, honestly that's a bunch of bull****.
“Earlier in college, my coaches told me that I could come out and they'll look at you as a project and you'll get drafted off of upside. I was like, 'Well, I want to do something before I go.' I thought I did that and now it's being held against me. I've always felt I was the best big. Just because I'm old, doesn't mean I can't get better.”
At the Chicago Pre-Draft Combine last month, Plumlee referenced Portland Trail Blazers Rookie of the Year point guard Damian Lillard as someone who had a descent rookie season after spending four years in school.
Today he used Miami Heat superstar LeBron James as an example of a older player who continues to improve his game.
“The biggest misconception I would say is when people think just because you're older and you put up numbers, that you don't have an upside. Are you kidding me? This is my job now,” he said.
“They think I'm not going to be able to knock down shots come time for the season? They think I'm not going to add to my game? LeBron is still adding to his game. Can they say LeBron doesn't have upside? That's crazy to me.”
To hear Plumlee speak, you come to realize this kid is on a mission. He simply feels disrespected. There isn't any other way to put it.
Alex Len, a 7-1 center who is projected to go as high as No. 1 and not expected to fall pass No. 6, has seen his stock rise despite not being able to work out for a single team after recovering from surgery on a stress fracture in his left foot.
It is what is, as the youngster say today. And that's the mindset Plumlee has after working out for 10 teams with Minnesota being his last stop. When it's all said and done, he's going to show you who can't get better.
“I played Alex Len five times,” Plumlee said. “If you look over the five games, I won four of the five match-ups. But there's that one, he made a name off of that. But it's okay, I'm just going to let time tell all.”
-- Workout No. 10 for Trail Blazers
Duke center Mason Plumlee, Texas point guard Myck Kabongo, Kentucky wing Archie Goodwin, Missouri point guard Phil Pressey, USC center Dewayne Dedmon and Oregon wing E.J. Singler were Wednesday's prospects.
Goodwin, 18, left college after an impressive freshman season averaging 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Those numbers earned the 6-5 prospect Freshman All-SEC honors. He is a former McDonald's All-American and expected to be taken early to mid second round.
Kabongo is an intriguing combo guard capable of just about anything on the offensive end. The 21-year-old has a knack for scoring the ball and driving the lanes to create shots for himself and others. After only playing two seasons of collegiate ball, he leaves having posted averages of 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals during his sophomore year. He'll go anywhere from early to late second round.
Pressey, 22, is your traditional point guard, constantly attacking to set up his teammates. That skill set/mindset is why he's Missouri's all-time leader in assists, career assists average and tied for career steals despite only playing three years of college ball. He's coming off of being named to the All-SEC First Team after averaging 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 1.8 steals last season.
Dedmon, 23, is a seven-footer whose strong points are his rebounding and shot blocking: 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks were his averages last season as a junior. He definitely needs to put on weight and muscle to be effective at the next level, but he has what you can't teach...size. Projected to go late second or possibly undrafted.
This is Singler's second workout with the Trail Blazers. The 23-year-old 6-6 wing can stroke the ball. That will be his calling card if given the chance. He has to show that he can play defense at this level to be taken seriously. Obviously he's doing something right. Not projected to get drafted.
Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson is nursing a sore left knee he sustained in a workout last week, and therefore has been forced to cancel all remaining pre-draft workouts, was an onlooker today. He met with Trail Blazers' brass yesterday.