An afterthought when he was acquired for Luis Scola, new Suns center Miles Plumlee is now playing like one of the best picks from the 2012 draft.
David Thorpe, a scout and analyst for ESPN, handles the rookie rankings for the mother ship. He also goes back to review prior drafts, and this week re-ranked the 2012 Draft.
10. Miles Plumlee, Suns
Plumlee wins the award for most improved player from this class so far. He was a benchwarmer for the Pacers last season, but is now posting double figures in scoring or rebounding almost nightly.
There is nothing special about Plumlee's game, other than his overall size, athleticism and heart. But he is beginning to show signs that he can attack defenders with some jabs and a quick step and draw fouls, which is great. If he can just get better at making free throws, his game will rapidly improve.
His position may not hold, as other guys have higher ceilings but are struggling this year, but that's a great return on a one-year rental of Luis Scola: a 2014 first round pick, Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green.
Out of 15 games this season, Plumlee has scored or rebounded in double figures 11 times, with 4 double-doubles. He's also blocked at least 1 shot in 13 of 15 games, with 3+ blocks 4 times. And, he is still 14th in the league in defending the rim (48.3% FG%) among those who defend 6+ shots per game. He is one of only 6 players who defend 10+ shots at the rim per game.
On the season, Plumlee is averaging 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 29.3 minutes per game.
Plumlee is a find, and with last year's actual Suns pick Kendall Marshall now out of the league, he's a pleasant surprise to say the least.
This picture feels appropriate....
This game overall felt like a high school prankster pants'ing one of his peers after they got hit in the mouth. The Portland Trail Blazers punched the Phoenix Suns in the month, turned around, preened, and then the Suns pants'd them. In the end the Suns collected a 120-106 victory, that could have easily been much worse than what it was.
Early on the Blazers were in control pacing the offense though LaMarcus Aldridge. When the game was controlled in the paint, the Blazers were in control of the game.
In the first quarter they jumped out to a 32-21 lead with 18 points in the paint (8 second chance points) proving to be the aggressor. They had the energy and the Suns did not. Aldridge had 11 points after the first quarter, they had all the energy, and were in firm control of their 14 the win of the season.
It was all downhill for the Blazers after that.
Goran Dragic (31 points 10 assists), Channing Frye (25 points 9 rebounds), and Gerald Green (10 points) all caught fire and the Suns out-scored the Blazers 99-74 from the second quarter to the final buzzer. The Suns had the energy. They stole the momentum and flat out pants'd the Blazers who have been as hot as any team in the NBA so far this season. In the second quarter the Suns scored 40+ points for the second time this season connecting on 5-9 shots from three-point range.
The hot shooting continued into the third quarter as the Suns shot 3-8 and locked down the Blazers.
The Suns can hand their hat on their two best performances of the season here at home, both against the Blazers winning by 13 and 14 points respectively.
If you didn't have anything to be thankful for tomorrow, the Suns served you up a dish of warm victory tonight.