Burning Q's: Can Plumlee take next step?

With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Will Mason Plumlee take the next step?

In some ways, Plumlee is in the process of taking that next step already. Making the final Team USA roster has been the type of experience for Plumlee that is simply priceless for the Nets.

Think about it: How does Plumlee spend a pivotal summer entering his second pro season? By practicing daily against the likes of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kenneth Faried and Andre Drummond, while playing alongside and learning from stars like James Harden, Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry. And he’s being coached by Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Thibodeau and Jim Boeheim.

Sure, his experience playing for Coach K at Duke helped his cause. But give Plumlee some credit. The bottom line is he made a very talented roster. All Plumlee can do is get better from this. Without a doubt, his confidence is going to rise.

After averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds, largely contributing with his energy and athleticism off the bench, as a rookie, Plumlee returns for his second season with the Nets knowing he can compete against some of the best young big men in the game.

Even if he doesn’t play much in the FIBA World Cup, Plumlee has spent his entire summer playing, working on his game and learning from the best.

Mason Plumlee

Mason Plumlee

#1 PF
Brooklyn Nets

2014 STATS

  • GM70
  • PPG7.5

  • RPG4.5

  • APG0.9

  • FG%.659

  • FT%.626

Plumlee has worked on his midrange jumper, a facet of his game that he must add to complement his rebounding and athletic, above-the-rim game inside. Plumlee also has to work on his back-to-the-basket game, as well.

The one downside of Plumlee being with the Nets is that he won’t play heavy starter-type minutes with Brook Lopez returning and Kevin Garnett expected to return.

Plumlee isn’t expected to start unless Lopez and Garnett get hurt. It's always possible he could see some starts if Lopez and Garnett are rested, especially on back-to-backs. He's capable of playing both center and power forward. Also, Andray Blatche isn't around to take up minutes.

Lionel Hollins should find Plumlee enough time to contribute and develop. And after this summer’s valuable Team USA experience, Plumlee will return and be surrounded by veterans like Lopez, Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko for a second season.

The 22nd overall pick from last year became a surprise contributor. This season, Plumlee will have an even more defined role, should see more minutes and should have chances to prove himself as a starter when Lopez and Garnett get rested. That all leads to a step in the right direction for Plumlee, whose career is on the rise.

Question: Do you believe Plumlee will take the next step this season?