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.