Mason Plumlee Left it All On The Court, and His Demeanor and Work Ethic will be Missed
“One of my favorite teammates ever on any level,” said Damian Lillard.
“He’s a good guy. That’s what matters the most. He’s a good guy,” said C.J McCollum.
Both star players were talking about Mason Plumlee, the former Blazer and new Nugget via trade. The 6′ 11″ big man out of Duke was traded Sunday for Jusuf Nurkić, a 7′ 0″ bigger man out of Bosnia. The world will have to wait and see if that is an upgrade for Portland on the court. Whether it is or not, one thing is for sure: Portland will miss Plumlee.
Plumlee was acquired two off seasons ago in a trade from Brooklyn. The Blazers sent Steve Blake and the draft rights of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to the Nets for Plumlee, which turned out to be a steal for Portland. Blake never played a minute for Brooklyn and Hollis-Jefferson is still developing on that near-dumpster-fire of a team. Meanwhile, Plumlee has averaged 10.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game during his 136 regular season games in Portland (all of them were starts.) His 3.4 assists per game are also impressive, especially since he went from averaging 2.8 APG last season to 4 APG this season. He has definitely turned into one of the most versatile centers in the game today and it was fun to watch.
With that being said, what Plumlee does best won’t show up on the box score. His hustle was incredible. Nine times out of ten, he was the smaller center on the court. However, he still found ways to muscle in rebounds and grab loose balls. His heart was in every game, and his lack of injuries helped play in every game possible for the Blazers. He embodied the Trail Blazer culture: quiet man who kept his head down and let his play do the talking. His quiet leadership was there and he was vocal when needed. Combine that with his vey high basketball IQ and you have a fantastic young player and obvious fan favorite.
Now, this is not to say trading him away was bad for the team. In fact, this trade is fantastic for Portland in the long run. Nurkić provides the physicality and youth Portland needs in the front court, while providing better pick and roll option. On top of that, Portland swapped a 2nd round pick for a first rounder, giving the team three first round picks that Olshey can use with trades or the draft. Plumlee meant more than just a play, which is why I’m writing this.
Mason Plumlee brought humor, delight and heart to Portland. His smile, humbleness and character will be missed for years to come. McCollum and Lillard would not have said such kind words about him if they weren’t true and coming straight from the heart. Good luck in Denver, Plumlee. We hope there’s a whole lot of “Mase” in opponents faces down there.
Check out his farewell message to Portland here.
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