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Phoenix Suns coach: Miles Plumlee improves every day

Phoenix Suns' Miles Plumlee (22) blocks the shot of Los Angeles Lakers' Jodie Meeks as Suns' Goran Dragic (1), of Slovenia, watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Lakers 117-90. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Of the many surprises on the Phoenix Suns this season, one clearly stands above the rest.

And it's not just because he's the tallest.

Miles Plumlee, who was acquired from Indiana in the trade that saw the Suns part with Luis Scola, is averaging 9.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just more than 28 minutes per night.

In Monday's win over the Lakers, he scored 17 points while pulling down a career-high 20 rebounds.

From hardly playing last year as a rookie to starting for a playoff contender, Plumlee's ascent has been both surprising and crucial to the team's success.

"We knew we'd get rebounding and athleticism, some blocked shots, we didn't think he'd be able to put the ball in the bucket except for a dunk," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek told Doug and Wolf Thursday. "But he's really worked on it. He came to the city about a month prior to the preseason starting and worked on his game with our coaches and he continues to improve every day."

Plumlee was originally selected by the Pacers with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2012 Draft, but saw action in just 14 games for the team. He played collegiately at Duke, and averaged 6.6 points with 7.1 rebounds and just under a block per game as a senior.

He's come a long way since then.

"It's a great first step for him," Hornacek added. "Where he's at now, he's only going to get better."

About the Author


School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.

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