ORLANDO, Fla. — It was just over a week ago when Mason Plumlee attended the unveiling of the site Nets’ new practice facility in Brooklyn.
Now he’s hustling up and down the court at the Amway Center, just as surprised as everyone else that the Nets will be unveiling new head coach Lionel Hollins in the wake of Jason Kidd’s sudden and sloppy departure.
“I was blindsided like a defensive end (rushing a quarterback),” Plumlee said. “I was very surprised. I think everybody was. I know you (media) guys were. I was, but it’s part of it.”
Plumlee rang up 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds as the Nets opened with an easy win over the Pacers in the first day of play at the Orlando Pro Summer League. He took over for stretches and shined on both ends of the court, consistently turning turnovers into easy baskets and free-throw chances.
He’s looking to build on his first NBA season when he averaged 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Nets. Following the All-Star break, he posted 13 games with 10 or more points and eight games with eight or more rebounds. That production got the 6-foot-11 Plumlee a fourth-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting and a spot on the All-Rookie first team.
Often playing as the only big man in a lineup with four outside shooters, Plumlee was a comfortable and effective fit in Kidd’s offensive system. That could change under Hollins.
“I wish him (Kidd) well,” Plumlee said. “I’ve said constantly I had a great time playing for him. I enjoyed him as a coach. But now I’m looking forward to playing for coach Hollins. I haven’t met him yet, but I’m looking forward to that.”
It’s been a tumultuous week for the entire organization as Kidd lost out on a power struggle with general manager Billy King and was eventually allowed to take over as coach of the Bucks in exchange for two second-round draft picks (2015 and 2019).
It seemed like one minute Plumlee was watching a ceremonial shovel put into the ground as part of a long-term future plan of stability and, in the next, the ground around him was shaky.
“It’s just good to get out on the court,” he said. “It’s weird, you don’t hear about too many transitions like this, so it’s just good to get back out on the court and play.”