Plumlee shocks everyone and makes Team USA
It seemed like a longshot when he started working out with Team USA and many people outside of Brooklyn probably hate the move, but Mason Plumlee, the Brooklyn Nets’ sophomore center, has surprisingly earned a spot on the Team USA World Cup roster.
Plumlee was one of many players placed on the Select Team that works out in preparation for international tournaments, but this announcement moves him to the World Cup roster where he will be one of 12 players heading to Spain.
“I’m honored and blessed to represent our country in Spain,” Plumlee tweeted after the official announcement was made.
When this entire process started nobody really thought Plumlee had much of a chance. He had an unexpectedly nice rookie season, but when he disappeared in the playoffs it was a not-so-wonderful reminder that he was indeed still a rookie. However, he impressed coaches, including Mike Krzyzewski whom he played for at Duke University, and they decided to take Plumlee along with DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond.
Plumlee’s strong work ethic and defensive skills were seen as an asset and despite the fact that he’s not outrageously skilled like most players on Team USA, he does fit into their team dynamic well.
“I’m a mobile, athletic big that can get out, defend, play with energy and then just (have) an understanding of the game, getting guys open, setting screens, rebounding,” Plumlee said. “Kinda doing the stuff big men should do. That’s what I tried to show them this time, and I hope that’s what they saw.”
All of this is great news for Nets fans. Plumlee was better than most could have hoped for last season. The fact that he disappeared in the playoffs is probably due more to inexperience than anything else. Just practicing with Team USA’s Select Team goes a long way toward building up his experience and actually playing in the World Cup is going to be huge for him.
With Andray Blatche on his way out of town, Plumlee is going to need to step up and play a much larger role for the 2014-15 Nets. Having Plumlee make this team could go a long way in helping make sure that he is ready once called upon.
Plumlee, who was taken with the 22nd pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, averaged 14.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes last season. He played in 70 games that season and started 22 of them. He’s likely to get more playing time, but right now it’s hard to tell exactly how much more. If he can catch on as a power forward he may end up becoming one of the top five or six players on the team, minutes-wise.
Plumlee and Team USA will head to Spain for the World Cup with their first game slated for Aug. 30 against Finland.