Miles Plumlee is a beast.
He only got 55 minutes on the court for the Indiana Pacers last season but has easily surpassed that already in the first three games as starting center for the Phoenix Suns. It’s not even about the scoring, which was there in the first two games (18 and 13 points), but completely absent as he didn’t even get on the board against OKC.
It’s more about the other numbers he brings in the box score and one intangible characteristic that make him more valuable.
At 6-11 and with a huge vertical (which he says is 40 inches plus and very well could be) Plumlee can rebound. He pulled down 15, 13 and five boards in the three games this season. Currently, Plumlee is tied with Pau Gasol and Carmelo Anthony for 14th in the league in rebounding at 11 per game.
Plumlee’s height and athleticism also help him also put on a block parade. He already has seven blocks on the season, which puts him in a four-way tie for seventh in the league in blocks per game. He also has the second-highest blocks per personal rate in the NBA of 1.40 (seven blocks and five fouls). The player better is Roy Hibbert’s crazy-good 2.00 rate (14 blocks and seven fouls). I wonder if Plumlee learned his defensive techniques while being mentored by Hibbert in Indiana with the Pacers. He definitely learned how to go straight up, and challenge a shot without fouling. That comes in handy around crunch time.
Regardless of the stat-stuffing, Plumlee brings an excitement from the center position (Amarè doesn’t count) that Phoenix hasn’t had in a long time, if ever. It is a little like the Lob City feel from the Clippers. Plumlee and the guards have connected for some spectacular alley-oops, and once chemistry really gets solidified with all these new teammates, they will have some more highlights to show off to the crowd.
Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City was tough for Plumlee. The Thunder’s frontcourt is smart, especially on the defensive end, not giving up position on the block. So, it’s no surprise Plumlee couldn’t get going. It was made even more difficult when Plumlee committed a couple fouls early in the game and had to ride the bench for a while. This caused his confidence to falter as he needed to be careful not to pick up another one for a while. When young players have to think due to foul trouble, the situation tends to get worse.
Plumlee will have to work on that, getting consistent in all facets of his game, but things look promising for him.