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2021-22 Hornets Player Preview: Mason Plumlee

What to expect from Charlotte’s newest big man

Dallas Mavericks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets traded for Mason Plumlee this offseason in a deal that many questioned. To some degree, it seemed as though the Detroit Pistons simply gave him away. The Hornets were able to jump up in the draft and get Plumlee in the same deal. Now, they have a player who projects to be their starting center for the upcoming season.

Last year, the biggest issue with the Hornets was their big-man position. As soon as Cody Zeller went down early last year, it quickly became clear that Charlotte needed a new center. Bismack Biyombo just wasn’t cutting it, and even when Zeller came back there was still room for improvement. PJ Washington did a decent job of filling that role at times, but he seems more comfortable playing the four.

While Plumlee may not be the flashiest name out there, he certainly gets the job done. Before playing in Detroit last year, Plumlee spent time in Denver, Portland, and Brooklyn. He was very effective everywhere he went, but he showed some real potential last year with the Pistons.

He’s always been someone who could put up around eight points and six rebounds per game, as though are his career averages. However, last season he turned into a double-double machine. He was super close to averaging 10 and 10 and even saw his assist numbers take a jump.

Most fans would immediately look at his stats and assume he’s nothing more than a double-double guy. However, his playmaking could play a huge role for this team as well. He only averaged around 3.6 assists per game last year, but that marked a career-high for him. Not only that, but Plumlee finished seventh amongst centers in assists last season. Having that secondary playmaker in the post could lead to a lot more open shots this season.

On top of all that, Plumlee is athletic enough to be a pick n’ roll threat next to LaMelo Ball. Last year’s centers didn’t exactly fall under that distinction. Ball having a legitimate, nearly seven-foot roll threat could even change the way he is effective on the court.

Plumlee’s impact should be noticeable from day one. If the Hornets are serious about competing for the playoffs this season, Plumlee should end up playing a ton of minutes. If things start going downhill, though, there’s always a chance players like Kai Jones, Nick Richards, and Vernon Carey start seeing more minutes.