Scout's Take: Miles Plumlee

There weren't a lot of analysts projecting former Duke big man Miles Plumlee as a first round pick. However, after a number of big time workouts the 6'11 PF continued Duke's tradition of placing post players in the league. TDD sat down with one of the Pacers' top scouts recently to find out why the organization was so happy to select the eldest Plumlee.

Lets start by talking about how long the Pacers scouted Miles…

Pacers' Scout: Well, we've been scouting him all four years at Duke as an organization, and I've scouted him personally since his sophomore year and including all his summer events too. I knew a lot about his game going into the draft.

So what drew you to Miles as an organization?

First of all, I always thought that he was a better athlete, even better than what he showed at Duke. His size, his athleticism, his toughness, his rebounding ability, and that he understands how to play the game. There were times that he started and there were times that he didn't and I never heard any complaining or griping about it, he just did nothing but winning when he was at Duke.

All those things are real good, but what validated all those things that we saw over four years was what he did in the summer, when he was showing what he could do outside of what you see him do in the Duke system. He looked really good when he was just showing what he could do as an individual player.

How did he do in the workouts that you brought him in for?

In the workouts we had him in Indiana for, it just sealed the deal, he had an unbelievable workout with us.

Who did he work out with when he was up in Indy?

It was a big guy workout. We had Kyle O'Quinn from Norfolk State, Fab Melo from Syracuse, Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure and Miles. He really did very well there, and we thought that where we were picking, we were looking at taking a big, so we were working out bigs that we thought would be there where we were picking in the first round.

Was picking him more a case of picking the best available, or was he the guy you were hoping to see there when you picked?

More of the latter. We knew he would be a nice piece for us because we lost a long time veteran of ours, Jeff Foster and we felt like Miles had some of the similar qualities that Jeff brought to our team and we felt like Miles was just a nice piece to add. We were worried that there were some teams picking above us and behind us that were looking to trade down or up but ahead of us to actually go get him in the draft, so we were very happy that he was there for us to pick.

Why do you think he was so popular when it came to his draft stock?

I really think it was that Minnesota workout. Miles was playing so well in front of all those scouts, GMs, and coaches. Personally, I got reports that his workout was off the charts there. We would not have been shocked if he had gone 18th or 20, he was that highly regarded by a number of teams, including ours.

Obviously you made the decision to draft Miles based on his physical gifts and rebounding ability and other things he does. Can you describe from an NBA scout point of view why NBA teams value those things so much?

I think from our perspective, we really needed that approach to the game that he brings, a utility guy who won't complain and who will make an impact by setting picks, blocking shots, rebounding, and stuff like that because we've got enough scoring. We like knowing that he won't complain about that kind of role, he's mature, and he's thrilled to be playing for his home state of Indiana.

The average fan doesn't understand just how much we needed somebody like Miles, that person who will play that role and take pride in how he plays.

What's his timetable in the Pacers eyes in terms of playing time, and his role over the next four years? Is he potentially able to start in the future?

I think so. I think in two to four years, as he keeps getting better, he could be a solid rotation and starter minutes type guy. He's got the tools and the motor already to get better, he's just gotta learn the NBA style, get adjusted.

How do you think Miles will do in terms of picking up positioning and where you expect your bigs to be on offense and defense and rebounding?

I think he's going to pick that up very well and very quickly. At Duke he really learned to be a better defender and rebounder, and he's got really good footwork. He has quick feet, and he's very athletic. I think picking up his defensive and rebounding responsibilities will be the easiest part for him. He's going to be ahead of the game when we hit training camp in the fall because he's been starting for us already in the summer league and we're going to be doing a lot of similar things in the fall that we're doing right now with our bigs.

Offensively he's going to go through a learning process, he's going to learn how to shoot the short jumper, the mid range, working off the short corner, he'll do different things. He doesn't have that bad of a jump hook too, we just need more development from him.

How do you think Miles and Tyler Hansbrough will play together?

I think there may be spurts they play together because, remember, Miles has the size and athleticism to play the five for us, and there could be moments where Miles relieves Hibbert and plays at the five with Tyler at the four, and that's a tough matchup in the frontcourt.

Are there any concerns about how he's going to matchup against the physicality of the NBA bigs at the four and five?

Absolutely not. He's just as athletic as most of the bigs that are in the league and he's just as explosive as the solid to above average bigs that are just below the really elite level bigs. He's not going to have any problems matching up.

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