Brook Lopez’s Absence Is Huge Chance For Mason Plumlee To Regain Coach Hollins Trust


On Sunday afternoon the Brooklyn Nets officially announced that Brook Lopez would be sidelined for at least four games with a lower back strain. The Nets have a tough stretch of games upcoming, on Monday they host Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and the dangerous Cleveland Cavaliers. On Wednesday the Nets travel to Chicago to face the red hot Bulls and after that it gets easier. Friday they face the Philadelphia 76ers and on Saturday they face the struggling Charlotte Hornets. Lopez’s absence will be missed especially during their next two games, but this is a big opportunity for Mason Plumlee to play great basketball and move his way back up in the rotation.

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Last season, Plumlee was forced to play a bulk of minutes due to the absences of Lopez and Kevin Garnett and Plumlee thrived under the increase in playing time. Lionel Hollins is hoping that Plumlee can step up in a positive way and help get the Nets through this tough stretch of games. Plumlee is at his best when he’s running the floor and going upstairs and making plays around the rim on both ends of the floor. Plumlee has tried to add a back to the basket game to his repertoire and although he looks more comfortable in the low post the skills just aren’t there yet. Plumlee needs to make a concerted effort to dunk the basketball and block shots on the other end and if there’s an opportunity for a post up then do it, but don’t try and force that low post touch.

Plumlee has looked much better as of late and his minutes have slowly started to resurface, but with Lopez’s injury expect those minutes to go up even more. Nets coach Lionel Hollins can either go small with Mirza Teletovic at power forward and Kevin Garnett at center, or he can insert Plumlee in as the starting center. I expect Hollins to experiment the small ball lineup and even in that scenario Plumlee will be the first big man coming off of the bench. Small ball worked out great for Brooklyn last year and Hollins is hoping that it can work out again.

It sounds so simple but what Plumlee needs to do is not try to do too much. Plumlee is at his best when he is doing the little things and slamming down an alley-oop to get the crowd fired up and giving the Nets all of the momentum on their side. Opportunities like this don’t happen very often and although nobody wants to see Lopez go down with an injury this is Plumlee’s chance to prove to everyone why he made the All Rookie first team last year and why he was on Team USA for the Fiba World Cup.

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