A preliminary explanation of Miles Plumlee (not the dunk contest one)

There are currently two Plumlee Brothers in the NBA.

The Milwaukee Bucks acquired Miles Plumlee on Thursday. He played for the Phoenix Suns previously, not the Brooklyn Nets. He was the guy getting jumped over in the dunk contest, not the one doing the jumping.

Drafted 26th overall in 2012, Plumlee spent his first season with the Indiana Pacers before being traded to the Suns. He averaged 8.1 points and 7.8 rebounds last season in 24.6 minutes per game, but has seen his numbers dip to 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game this season. He was the Suns’ starting center this season, but he’s alternated between the starting lineup and bench this season. He’s under contract for one more season after this one, after which Milwaukee would hold his rights as a restricted free agent.

On the court, he’s kind of a classic roll man big. His offensive rebound percentage this season (10.5) would rank second on the Bucks behind Zaza Pachuila and his defensive rebound percentage (19.8) would rank third on the Bucks, behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Pachulia. He was an even better rebounder last year and could again flourish as a rebounder in some of Milwaukee’s small lineups.

He’s certainly most comfortable around the rim. Zaza typically does his finest work from the elbow, catching and making a decision about whether to pass or shoot, but Plumlee is more of a traditional catch and dunk guy¬†along the lines of Henson. He has 33 dunks this season, compared to Pachuila’s five and Henson’s 30.

The rage in Milwaukee right now is wingspan, but Plumlee doesn’t quite intimate the way Henson does. Plumlee’s wingpan is 7-foot, as opposed to Henson’s 7-foot-4, but he had a max vertical of 40.5 inches at the 2012 combine while Henson’s was just 30 inches. So what Plumlee seems to lack in wingspan he may make up for in bounce, evidenced by ALL OF THESE DUNKS:

So that looks kind of fun.

Basically, he’s a fairly athletic big who rebounds the ball at an average to above average rate and finishes well around the rim. He looks like he plays with a bit more physicality than John Henson and he doesn’t seem to be a Zaza Pachulia type playmaker.

Where does he fit in with the Bucks? He’ll probably occasionally syphon minutes from the existing centers, but given how Jason Kidd has handled his bigs this season, it’s hard to envision him sliding down and playing the four too much. On our recent podcast with Rob Mahoney we discussed this and Rob mentioned that, given the lack of floor spacing Michael Carter-Williams brings to the table, he’d be surprised if Milwaukee didn’t try and keep a shooter at the power forward position most of the time. That doesn’t seem to line up minutes for any of the three centers together.

So Plumlee will definitely be an insurance policy and he could even occasionally crack into the rotation. Kidd has demonstrated time and again that he’s willing to go very deep into his rotation, especially if he doesn’t like what’s happening on the court. Plumlee could get one of those five or six minute runs the first time he puts on a Bucks uniform and then not play again for a week. Milwaukee’s rotations are tough to figure, but have generally been productive.

Time will tell how big of a place there is in those rotations for Miles Plumlee.

Categories: Fringe Players

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  1. I still believe that the Bucks need to try moving Z.Pachulia and E.Ilyasova in an attempt to land Spencer Hawes who has the ability to protect the rim, rebound the ball, provide space on the court, hit the three, and pass the ball from the elbow. He combines the best of both Pachulia and Ilyasova while adding the ability to protect the rim. His value is greatly diminished right now in LA given his role and use, but he’s got talent that would fit this team extremely well. I’d love to see something worked out during the off-season to try bringing him here.

  2. Henson’s biggest challenge has been matching up with physical centers. I can see Pumlee taking some minutes in specific matchups, but I don’t quite know a lot about his defensive game. Any thoughts on his defensive prowess and strength down low?

    • It sounds like he’s not especially impressive, but I suppose time will tell. I haven’t had much of a chance to look at his defensive numbers, but he lost minutes to Alex Len, at least in part, for defensive reasons.

  3. Mile’s per36 from last season — only his second in the NBA — translates to about 12 points and as many rebounds. That seems like cause for good hope that he can be at least a solid contributor to the Bucks, and maybe more.

    Plus, I like getting different body types and different skill-sets on the Bucks. I’m even sincerely open to Spencer Hawes based on L’s glowing appraisal of him, including his outside shooting ability.

    One way to look at this trade overall, is that instead of getting future first-round picks, we’re getting three recent first-rounders: MCW high in the lottery, Tyler late in the lottery, and Miles late in the first round. The advantage is twofold: first, at least two of these guys have shown some aptitude for the NBA already, making them less chancy than the unknown first-rounders of the future, while Tyler is still in his first few months in the league; secondly, they’re all still recent enough that we can reasonably have good hope for them to make significant improvements, with ceilings that are at least somewhat higher, and possibly much higher, than what they can offer at present.

  4. The biggest bonus that I haven’t heard mentioned about this trade is that now we can match whatever Middleton gets offered. He is developing into a real force. Currently number 6 in the entire Association in Real Plus/Minus, trailing Curry, Harden, Davis, Westbrook and Lillard. One spot above LBJ. I had to check 4 or 5 times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. If he continues his success, he will come at a far higher price tag than anyone could have anticipated before the season, and I seriously hope the Bucks match it.

  5. as I have stated in other posts, tyler and miles are the cherries on top of this deal. I see Miles as a match-up usage type more than a rotational guy…… at least on the bucks roster. I would love to be proven wrong about that from his play btw. We’ll see how he turns out, but if he flames, the other parts of this deal are MORE than enough to justify it in my eyes.