Denver Nuggets big man Mason Plumlee is headed into his first full season with the team after re-signing earlier this month.
In 27 games with the Nuggets last season, center Mason Plumlee averaged 9.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Plumlee also averaged 2.6 assists and 1.1 blocks per game in his short stint with the team.
Acquired in a deal that sent former Nugget Jusuf Nurkic to Portland, Plumlee never seemed to get comfortable with the Nuggets last season. After signing a three-year $41 million deal with the team this offseason, Plumlee should have much more stability moving forward.
Plumlee was kind enough to sit down with DID after the first day of training camp and he touched on the benefits of going through training camp with his new team.
DID: How was the first day of camp?
“First day of camp was good man. I thought the energy was really good, guys are obviously excited to be back. It was a good start to the week.”
DID: What did practice consist of today?
“Just putting in some press pulls defensively and offensively. Just our basic stuff and it was definitely something to build on moving forward.”
DID: How was the team dinner you guys had the other night? Did you guys decide on any plans or goals going into the season?
“Yeah we kind of went over where we ended out last year. Obviously it’s a new roster, new team, and we just want to build on that man. I thought we had some good stuff going and we just want to improve on our strengths and obviously acknowledge our weaknesses and improve on those as well.”
DID: How nice is it to get the contract extension out-of-the-way and not having to play this season on the qualifying offer?
“It’s nice to know man. It’s a little bit of stability, but you only stay here if you make it work and win games. That’s always the most important thing.”
DID: I know you talked in your letter last week about your comfort level. Will getting the contract extension done and knowing you’re going to be here for the next three seasons make it easier to play night in and night out?
“Well, I think more so than the contract, just going through training camp and starting the season with the team. That was my first experience being traded at the deadline and it’s a little different when you come in in February versus October. So to me the comfort level come’s from that and not with the contract.”
DID: You led the team in blocked shots last year prior to joining the squad. Is that something you plan on continuing and helping with the defensive end of the court?
“Yeah I don’t think we have too many shot blockers. We’ll do it by committee, but rim protection in general. Whether it’s taking charges, blocking shots, all that is going to be important.”
DID: Have they told you what your role with the team is going to be like moving forward?
“Not really. Just be myself, be aggressive, and make plays. But, you kind of know yourself at this point and you know what you can bring to the team. So you just got to go out there and give them what you got.”
Practicing with the team and playing in preseason games will be very beneficial for Plumlee. The team didn’t practice as much late in the season and Plumlee was forced to gain chemistry with his teammates during games.
Developing that relationship with his teammates in camp will be huge if the Nuggets second unit plans on having any success. Plumlee is one of the better passing big men in the entire NBA and he helps form one of the best passing front courts in the league with teammates Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic.
We’ll get to see Plumlee and company in action tomorrow night as the Nuggets kick off their preseason with a game at the Oracle against the defending champs.