Wizards pre-draft workouts: Mason Plumlee takes a turn

June 12, 2013

Duke’s Mason Plumlee (5), who participated in pre-draft workouts for the Washington Wizards Wednesday, watches Maryland’s Alex Len dunk during regular season game in College Park. (Getty Images)

The Washington Wizards resumed pre-draft evaluations of college prospects Wednesday morning at Verizon Center, working out six players, including former Duke center Mason Plumlee.

The 6-foot-11 second-team all-American was third in the ACC in points (17.1) and second in rebounds (10) and also averaged 1.9 assists and 1.4 blocks last season as a senior. Plumlee finished his career in the top 10 in Blue Devils history in rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks.

Joining Plumlee on the practice court for the 90-minute session were forwards Kellen Thornton (Tennessee State), Brock Motum (Washington State) and Karron Johnson (Shaw) as well as guards Bruce Massey (Middle Tennessee State) and Dexter Strickland (North Carolina).

The Wizards own the No. 3 overall pick in the June 27 draft as well as the Nos. 8 and 24 selections in the second round. Most NBA draft Web sites project Plumlee to in the middle to late first round, but if somehow he winds up in the nation’s capital, he said he’s somewhat prepared thanks to indoctrination from college teammates.

“Some of my best buddies on the team are from D.C.,” Plumlee said. “Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton, Josh Hairston, or the ‘DMV’ as they like to call it. I see where they get it. I see everybody wearing Foamposites around here, listening to Wale. I know a little about that from being at Duke with those guys.”

During the portion of the workout open to reporters, Plumlee played one-on-one with Motum, scoring three straight baskets as Wizards Coach Randy Wittman watched from the side. Included in that stretch was a one-handed slam with his right hand after backing Motum down deep in the lane.

Plumlee in some ways fits Washington’s preference for a big man who is comfortable in transition with point guard John Wall leading the fast break. Plumlee excelled at finishing the break this past season at Duke with excellent anticipation and leaping ability for a player his size, but rarely was he a threat from mid-range.

Plumlee admitted he needs to improve his shooting, but he added that part of his game is among the easiest to correct.

NBA general managers and coaches also must determine if Plumlee, at 240 pounds, possesses the physicality to play center at the next level, or if he’s better suited at power forward.

“I’m just a player, so it comes down to what a coach wants, who the other players are,” Plumlee said. “I think it’s valuable in that I can play both. A guy gets hurt at center, I can slide over. If we have a big guy like Nene, I can play the four, so I’m very confident in being able to do both.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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Michael Lee · June 12, 2013