It’s a tandem that the Brooklyn Nets barely got to use last season. This season, though, the pairing of Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez could be instrumental to the team’s success.
Lopez played just 17 games last and suffered a broken leg. After rehabbing this summer, Nets GM Billy King expects Lopez to be fully ready to go without any limitations. As King explained, “Right now, there is no plan to put any restrictions on him.” (via Nets Daily)
On the other hand, Plumlee did not start to get more time on the floor until after Lopez was hurt. Once Lopez was injured, ex-Nets coach Jason Kidd changed the team philosophy and went with a smaller lineup. That led to Plumlee playing the center position and getting significantly more time on the court. Now, Plumlee is even vying for a spot on the Team USA roster this summer.
In a recent interview with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Plumlee talked about how he could fit next to Lopez. “He demands so much attention, you kind of let him be the focal point scoring wise and then you kind of complement him.” When comparing the style of play between Kidd and new head coach Lionel Hollins, Plumlee said, “I think we would play two bigs and how coach Lionel Hollins has played traditionally has been that way.”
Plumlee is certainly right about that. While in Memphis, Hollins loved to play a bruising style of offense by pounding the ball in to Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Now, he has the likes of Mirza Teletovic and Kevin Garnett to go with Plumlee and Lopez.
Lopez and Plumlee will likely spend plenty of time together on the court. Playing at the power forward position, Plumlee will be energy, hustle and extreme athleticism. His offensive game is certainly limited (116 of his 199 made field goals last season were dunks) but he makes up for it in other areas.
As far as Lopez goes, he’s arguably the most skilled offensive big man in the league. He can score in a variety of ways both inside and out. He has the ability to hurt opponents in multiple ways.
The most important thing will be to see how they perform together defensively. With his athleticism, Plumlee can alter an opponents shot selection. The same goes for Lopez with his height and size. They will need to work well together in protecting the rim for the Nets. When a shot does go up, they will be relied on to grab the board.
These two will need to play well together for the Nets to be highly successful.