You can’t read much into Summer League. The statistics are irrelevant and the overall level of play borders on a scrimmage. But sometimes just watching how a guy looks and carries himself on the court can tell you a litte. Through three quarters against the Celtics’ summer league invites, Lance Stephenson and Miles Plumlee have looked athletically head and shoulders above everyone with the exception of perhaps Fab Melo. Plumlee is the biggest guy on the court and clearly knows how to position himself in places where he can succeed on both ends. This means little playing against this competition, but he has been disruptive defensively, made a few solid moves with the ball and finished plays with two monster dunks.
The above is one of them.
You have to like Plumlee’s positioning here, which illustrates somebody who has been well coached and reminds me of where Nick Collison often stands. In Summer League, Miles is big enough to just make space in the middle, catch and score. In such circumstances, many would just lean on their athleticism, get a little sloppy on fundamentals and walk away thinking they are reading to play in the NBA because they just embarrassed some guys who will soon be playing in Turkey. But Miles doesn’t do that here. He maintains his positioning out wide and super low on the baseline, giving his guards room to drive in the paint. And when Stephenson sees Miles’ man cheating into the paint, Lance finds him with a pass. Then he does something Nick Collison — and especially Tyler Hansbrough — can’t: takes on gather step and throws down and unblockable finish with authority from distance.
Credit Mr. and Mrs. Plumlee’s genetic combination for giving him the ability to finish like that.
But credit Coach K for why he was open.
UPDATE: Here is another, eerily similar dunk by Miles in the second half over Fab Melo. Again, notice the positioning and the discipline to maintain spacing — during a glorified practice. Encouraging to see from a guy who is expected to have to rely on his brain to carve out a decent NBA career.
After the game, NBA TV’s Rick Kamla asked him about his two big dunks.
“I can jump,” said Plumlee.
Tags: White Men Can Jump