The Phoenix Suns acquired second-year center Miles Plumlee from the Indiana Pacers in the trade that sent Luis Scola out of town. Phoenix would not make the trade with the Pacers unless Plumlee was included, and they believed that he would be a very nice piece to help their rebuilding process. Little did they know that Plumlee would end up being their starting center this season, and show promise of being a key piece for years to come.
Plumlee played in 80 games this past season with the Suns, starting in all but one of those appearances. He averaged 8.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game, and his numbers raised in every category from his rookie year with the Pacers. One thing to keep in mind is that Plumlee only played in 14 total regular season games with the Pacers last season, so this was very close to being his rookie year in the NBA.
As you can see from the shotchart above, Plumlee does have some work to do on his all-around offensive game. That being said, he made incredible improvements from his rookie year to this season, and his percentages sky-rocketed. He shot 51.7 percent from the field overall, but did struggle from the free-throw line at just 56.1 percent. The free-throw percentages will need to be improved this offseason, but other than that he looks to be headed in the right direction.
While his offense certainly needs some work, he won the starting center position because of his defensive and athletic ability. He has always been extremely athletic and can jump out of the gym, which allows him to be a great basket defender. In the NBA, good defensive teams always have to have a big man that can defend the rim. Plumlee showed this past season that he is more than capable of being a top-notch defensive big man, and will continue getting better with coaching and time.
The Suns are extremely excited about the future that they see for Plumlee. They are very confident that he will return next season even better than he was this year, and will once again be a key piece as they try to return to the playoffs. All that being said, he will need to work very hard this offseason, as he will have second-year center Alex Len pushing for his minutes next year.
Overall, the future is extremely bright for Plumlee with the Suns. His athletic ability fits their uptempo style of offense, and he is a much needed defensive cornerstone as well. The Suns certainly made out looking like a huge winner in the trade with the Pacers, and we haven’t even seen the best of Plumlee yet.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.