The Player of the Week
Miles Plumlee aka "Vanilla Sky"
Weekly Stat Averages:
Points: 16.0 FG%: .576 Rebounds: 13.3 Blocks: 1.7 Stitches: 7
Once he was traded to the Suns, I was able to get a good look at him in the Suns intra-squad scrimmage, in which I along with Dave King and Jim Coghenour took a Bright Side of the Sun road trip to go watch in Flagstaff. One of the first things that jumped out to me is how Plumlee was not beating, but dominating Marcin Gortat on both ends of the floor.
We made remarks back and forth about his impressive performance, but after all, this was just a scrimmage and Plumlee had a lot to prove...It wouldn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, right?
Then pre-season happened, and the Suns' fanbase was quickly introduced to a young, explosive, and surprisingly talented and skilled young center who provided not only dunks and rebounds, but nice footwork and a pretty impressive hook shot. But still, it was only pre-season, right?
Fast forward a couple of weeks later and Gortat gets traded the day before the season and Plumlee is named the Suns starting center. Hmmm...maybe there's something to this Plumlee guy, but they're obviously just tanking, right?
Then the regular season started, and in the very first game against the Portland Trailblazers, Miles Plumlee officially opened eyes and jumped onto the scouting report in games to follow after registering 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks in nearly 40 minutes of play. But surely this was just an aberration...beginners luck right?
Interestingly enough, the only thing about that game that was a complete aberration was Plumlee playing 40 minutes, something he hasn't really gotten close to doing since. Although Plumlee wouldn't top his 18 point performance until just this week, he has reached it twice and hovered around it on a few occasions...and his rebounding which also wasn't topped until just this week has also been impressive.
In fact, he's averaging just under 10 points and 10 rebounds a game this season, in just under 28 minutes a game. Pretty impressive stuff for a guy who's just 55 minutes removed from being a rookie.
Although this entire season has been incredible for Miles, this week was Plumlee's best of his career thus far. He had career numbers in two different games this week, in two different categories.
On Monday he set a career high in rebounding against the Lakers, grabbing 20 rebounds to go along with 17 points in 31 minutes of play.
Then last night he scored a career high 22 points to go along with his 13 rebounds in 32 minutes of play against the Philadelphia 76ers.
There's no doubt about it, Plumlee had a great week and is off to a great start. He's still developing and improving, but what he's giving the Suns on both ends of the floor is something Phoenix hasn't seen since...well...ever?
See, he's a very unique player. He's not just a guy who uses his athleticism and footwork to score in the post, or a rebounder, or a shot blocker, or a smart post defender...he's all of those things. And he's continuing to learn how to do all of those things at an even higher level as well.
Now I'm not saying this guy is the best center the Suns have ever had, but he certainly provides the Suns with an added dimension of athleticism, energy, instinct, and basketball I.Q. in the post that I don't think anyone expected him to give Phoenix when he was originally traded here along with Gerald Green and a first round pick for Luis Scola.
The only unknown now is just how high Miles's ceiling really is, and whether or not he can continue to play at this level for the rest of the season, and beyond. Have the Suns really found their center of the future, or is he just a one or two season stop-gap until they find someone better?
I mean, sure, he's playing great now...but the Suns can't possibly count on him to continue putting up these kinds of numbers, and even get better...right?