When the Phoenix Suns acquired Miles Plumlee in a trade with the Indiana Pacers last year, it wasn't clear what was expected from a second-year player with only 14 career games under his belt.
Fast forward to the final week of the regular season, the 6-foot-11 center is a big reason why the Suns are competing for one of the last Western Conference playoff seeds.
Yet, with only five games left in the season, Plumlee is logging less minutes in the past month compared to his season average of 24.7 minutes per game.
In the last 17 games, his playing time has taken a hit and he is only on the court for an average of 19.35 minutes.
Tim Kempton, color analyst for the Suns, spoke with Doug and Wolf of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM about Plumlee's sophomore season and what he needs to do to earn back his minutes.
"Jeff [Hornacek] is looking for offense and defense, and sometimes you just can't count on the offense from Miles at this stage of his career," Kempton said.
"He's got to get his energy going. He's got to be aggressive early on. The more aggressive he is, I think the more playing time he'll get, because obviously the rebounding is there."
Plumlee leads the team in rebounds (8) and blocks (1.2) per game, but Hornacek has been going with Channing Frye and Markieff Morris, who both averaged more minutes than Plumlee in the team's last 10 games.
"Right now, Jeff Hornacek has lost a little bit of confidence in him," Kempton said. "Maybe not that he's lost confidence in him, but his confidence in those other guys have picked up so greatly that he has more confidence in them to go into clutch situations."