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Name: Mason Plumlee
Position: Power forward/center
Size: 6’11″, 240 lbs.
The brother of current Pacers power forward Miles Plumlee, Mason is, along with Lehigh guard C. J. McCollum and Kansas center Jeff Withey, one of the few seniors projected to go in the first round in this year’s draft. Plumlee averaged a double-double in 2012-13, with 17.1 points on 59.9 percent shooting to go with a team-leading 10 rebounds per game. He was a consensus second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC, and won the prestigious Pete Newell Big Man Award.
Plumlee helped Duke reach the Elite Eight, where the Blue Devils fell to eventual champion Louisville. Plumlee was by far his team’s best player in the 22-point loss, recording 17 points and 12 rebounds in the last game of his college career. A near 7-footer, he has tremendous athleticism for his size and is a very gifted offensive player.
Nobody questions Plumlee’s offensive talent, and he’d surely benefit greatly from playing with Rajon Rondo as his point guard. There are more questions about his ability on the other end of the floor, which could be problematic in the Celtics defensive style of play. Depending on the team’s other offseason moves, any big man the Celtics draft could be thrust into a starring role right off the bat, and Plumlee is thought to be more mature and NBA-ready than many of his younger peers.
The one big factor going against Plumlee is a perceived lack of upside relative to other players in the draft. As good as he was in college, he doesn’t appear to be All-Star material. If Danny Ainge is willing to be patient in rebuilding the Celtics into a championship contender, he’s more likely to select a younger player with greater potential than Plumlee, even if it takes longer to turn him into an everyday starter. Still, if Ainge thinks Plumlee can be a consistently serviceable NBA big, he could find him worthy of the number 16 pick.