Miles Plumlee first in line for NBA

BY foxsports • June 21, 2012

ATLANTA -- Miles Plumlee gets the first shot.

He's the
first of the trio of Plumlee Brothers—the skilled yet oft-maligned Duke
big men—to vie for an NBA roster slot. He's one of the first true big
men to privately workout for the Atlanta Hawks, which are expected to be
in the market for frontcourt help in next week's draft.

And he's the first to tell you that he's ready for this opportunity.

"I'm
very confident. I know I have the attributes that are hard to come by
and I've been playing my whole life, I've got a lot of skill to offer,"
Plumlee said after his workout on the practice court inside the Hawks'
Phillips Arena.

Things never looked so carefree or assertive on
collegiate basketball courts for Plumlee. The offensive numbers never
matched the high school hype (the 6.6 points per game scoring average
his senior season was a career high). His defense never scared the top
post players around the country. Even as the elder statesman of the Blue
Devil familial frontcourt, he came off the bench last season behind his
younger brother, Mason.

And yet, here he is, working out for and, by some accounts, impressing NBA coaches and general managers.

"He's
got the feet of a soccer player — just very, very light on his feet. He
can run, he can jump, he can catch," Dave Pendergraft, the Hawks
assistant general manager and director of player personnel, said.
"Offensively, he's a little better than what you anticipate. I think
he's worked on his jump-hook. He can pivot off either foot and get to
the rim a little."

"At this point in my career, I'm really
comfortable with my back to the basket," Plumlee added. "I've put on a
lot of weight and strength so I can back down guys my height or
smaller."

Plumlee is looking to be a part of a Duke renaissance
in the NBA, a league in which former Blue Devil bigs have recently
struggled to become standout pro players.

It's been a decade
since Carlos Boozer was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. It's been 13
years since Elton Brand was the top pick in the 1999 draft. Since then,
guys like Josh McRoberts, Shavlik Randolph and Shelden Williams have
made precious few contributions to NBA rosters.

Plumlee will
continue to bank on the lessons learned under legendary coach Mike
Krzyzewski. And with a bit of good fortune, perhaps they will lead to
the tangible success that eluded those who have come before him.

"I
was taught how hard you have to work at that level and I'm sure it
translates to this level," he said. "Just the intensity; you've got to
play with a lot of intensity every play. That's huge for this level."

If
Plumlee's skill set, which is intriguing for his size, can translate to
pro success, it will help to lift the contemporary stigma surrounding
Duke post players and alleviate the path his younger brothers are sure
to follow.

Yes, as always, the topic always wanders back to family for Miles Plumlee.

"I don't know how one family produces three 7-footers that can run and jump like that," Pendergraft said.

General
managers will be asking themselves that question for the next few
years. A couple of them might even jump on the opportunity to draft
Mason or Marshall.

But, regardless of future outcomes, Miles Plumlee comes first.


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