Believe it or not, it seems the Detroit Pistons are missing Mason Plumlee in 2021-22. If I am sincere, those are words I never expected to write.
Rewind to the Detroit Pistons flurry of free-agent signings and then the vigorous center carousel just after Troy Weaver accepted his role to be the teams’ general manager. One of those signings had been Plumlee, who signed a three-year deal worth $24.6 million. At the time, it didn’t seem like much of an addition, but Plumlee quickly proved his worth on the court with consistent effort on both ends, plus having the ability to mentor rookie Isaiah Stewart.
Last year as a starter in Detroit, Plumlee averaged 10.4 points, the most since 2016-17 when he averaged a career-high 11.1 points in 54 games with Portland. The big-man nicknamed ‘Plumdog-millionaire’ also averaged a career-high 9.3 boards per game. Plumlee also has a knack for his playmaking ability and averaged 3.6 assists per game last season in Detroit.
The Detroit Pistons are missing Mason Plumlee more than anyone could have predicted this season.
This past offseason, ‘trader Troy’ lived up to that name by moving Plumlee after one year with the Pistons. Detroit traded Plumlee along with the no. 37 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to Charlotte in exchange for the no. 57 overall selection. Oddly enough, Detroit traded down to unload Plumlee.
Plumlee averages 6.8 points, 7.3 boards, and nearly three assists per game in his first season with the Hornets.
The Detroit Pistons replaced Plumlee in free agency with sharp-shooting, floor-stretcher Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk doesn’t have nearly the same defensive presence but possesses greater returns on the offensive end of things. Olynyk signed a three-year $37.1 million deal with Detroit this past offseason.
In ten games this season, Olynyk has averaged 12.5 points, 5.3 boards per game, along with shooting 34.1% from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, in early November, Olynyk suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee and is expected to miss at least six weeks of action. The injury left the Detroit Pistons exceptionally short-handed at the center position.
After Stewart, who is averaging 7.6 points and 8.1 boards per game as a starter, head coach Dwane Casey is forced to turn to the likes of Trey Lyles and rookie Luka Garza. Needless to say, once Stewart comes out of the game, the Detroit Pistons tend to get bullied on the boards and on the defensive end.
You can’t predict injuries, but at 4-21 (at the time of this writing), the Detroit Pistons are clearly missing Mason Plumlee, among others (Delon Wright, Derrick Rose, and Wayne Ellington) this season.