miles plumlee

by Khalid Salaam / @MrKhalidS

When people succeed, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the result of talent and hard work. There has to be an opportunity available, a showcase that allows a particular skill set to flourish. For a Phoenix Suns team with nothing to lose, second-year center Miles Plumlee found his showcase.

“It’s combination of a lot of things,” Plumlee says. He was the 26th pick in the 2012 Draft and played for the Pacers last season before being traded to Phoenix this past summer. “The opportunity to get a lot of minutes and play through my mistakes really helped my confidence. I always felt like I had a lot stuff in me and playing over the summer [in Summer League] really helped my confidence.”

Though he exhibited his fair share of athleticism at Krzyzewskiville, the former Blue Devil never got the benefit of the doubt. Now, however, the Suns can attest to his talent. Whether on dunks or muscle man rebounds, Plumlee has shown he belongs. His play (10 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 1.9 bpg) has been a big reason the Suns are one of the feel-good stories of the young season. “We have a good group of guys and we’re all hungry to win, and we love playing for Coach [Jeff] Hornacek,” says Plumlee. “I like his demeanor, he’s ultra-competitive, and as a guy who’s played, he has an excellent perspective on things.”

Scouts who doubted Plumlee should have realized that competition has been part of his life for years; all he had to do was challenge his brothers. Mason, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets and Marshall, currently running the floor for the Dookies, represent a trifecta of high-caliber bloodlines. “It’s rare. Me and Mason are super-competitive and I was talking with the Morris twins [Marcus and Markieff also play for Phoenix] and they are different from us. We wouldn’t be afraid to hurt each other, but the Morris’ look out for one another more than we do. It’s kinda cool to see.”