He’s one of the newest Denver Nuggets, but who is Mason Plumlee?
Mason was drafted in 2013, selected as the 22nd pick overall by the Brooklyn Nets. Plumlee played two seasons with Brooklyn before being traded in June 2015 to the Portland Trail Blazers.
On February 12th, Denver and Portland came to an agreement– the Nuggets would be sending Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round pick to the Trail Blazers in exchange for their big man Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second rounder.
Mason arrived in Denver on February 13th after the trade was finalized and his first game as a Nugget, though he was inactive, was against the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets took the 132-110 win over the Warriors and Mason liked what he saw.
Cut to Wednesday, February 15th and 2 days into being a Nugget, Plumlee got the start against the Timberwolves where he put up 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Not bad for somebody who had only been in Denver for 2 days, right?
Over the All-Star Break, Mase returned to Duke for a quick vacation but came back to Denver ready to learn. In the last 9 games since the All-Star Break ended, Plumlee has been averaging 8.6 points per game.
In the two games (3/6 and 3/7) that Plumlee got the start at the 5, he had back-to-back double-doubles, averaging 14.5 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and one steal. Again, a pretty nice stat line for one of the newest Denver Nuggets. As a matter of fact, since Mason’s arrival, Denver has gone 7-5.
“I’ve loved Mason. Great kid. First and foremost, really fits the culture that we’re trying to have here. Terrific work ethic, high IQ, unselfish,” Coach Malone said following the March 3rd practice when I asked him if he was happy with Mason thus far.
Malone absolutely loves having Mason as part of this team and continues to put his trust in the six-foot-eleven center, even though it may be difficult at times.
“I have to trust him more. I have to put the ball in his hands more when I take Nikola out so we don’t become so stagnant. […] I can continue to do a better job with trusting and allowing Mason to be the playmaker that he is.”
Day by day, Mason continues to improve as a Nugget and, regardless if he’s coming off of the bench or in the starting five, he is consistent in his play and that’s exactly what Denver has needed, particularly when Nikola Jokic is not on the floor. Mason also brings a much needed defensive element to Denver that we’ve been lacking.
As the Nuggets get closer to the end of the regular season, they have kept their hold on the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference. On February 21st, just over a week after being in Denver, Mason was asked about what his advice to his younger teammates would be regarding the playoff push.
“Every game is important. The GSW game felt great, Minnesota counted all the same. You have to understand the standings and you have to move on quick. You can’t hang your head after a loss, you can’t celebrate after a win, you just have to be focused. Every night’s an opportunity.”
Nuggets fans continue to look forward to seeing Mase on the floor and what he can do, particularly when he and Joker, two of the best passing big men in the league, are on the floor together.
Mason Plumlee Fun Facts:
- In 2008, Mason Plumlee played for the US National team Under-18 FIBA team, winning silver.
- Mason was a 2009 McDonald’s All American in high school.
- In 2014, Plumlee was selected to participate in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge
- Also in 2014, he played for the United States National Team, competing for the FIBA Basketball World Cup and winning gold.
- Mason has two brothers who also play in the NBA. Marshall plays for the NY Knicks and Miles, who plays for the Charlotte Hornets.