Team USA tryouts have wrapped up after three days of scrimmaging and drills under the cool eyes of college assistant coaches and head coach Mike Krzyzewski. With Kevin Love withdrawing at the behest of Minnesota — though that might change — and Blake Griffin done after a small back fracture was discovered, it opened up a spot for Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins to earn a spot. Not so fast though, because Mason Plumlee might beat him out as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst notes.
2 things from Team USA: post practice games between Durant/Harden/George are epic; Mason Plumlee likely to make team over DeMarcus Cousins
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 31, 2014
Boogie, as most know, has been a pretty consistent double-double machine for Sacramento this year on his way to averaging 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in 32.4 minutes a night. He also finished with a 26.1 player efficiency rating (PER), which was fifth in the NBA last season, trailing only Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis.
Mason Plumlee, on the other hand, only started 22 games for the Nets during his rookie season, though he did sport a decent (19.0) PER and he played really well for them and got more time towards the end of the year and into the postseason, something Boogie still hasn’t experienced after four years in the league.
With Love and LaMarcus Aldridge abstaining and Blake injured, the big-man role falls to Anthony Davis, and well — it could be Plumlee. We’ll let Coach K explain:
“In DeMarcus’ case, the style we play lends itself to what Anthony does or even what Plumlee is doing,” Krzyzewski said. “DeMarcus’ game is different, so he has an adjustment to make and he’s trying to make it.”
Andre Drummond is also in Vegas, but he’s the youngest guy there and is considered a longer shot to make the squad, Windhorst adds.
While Boogie is more talented, with the biggest test for the USA in the FIBA World Cup likely coming from home country, Spain, and Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol leading their frontcourt, Plumlee might be a better fit as Ant’s back-up.
Then again, some will claim Mason’s four years at Duke under Coach K might be the primary reason for his selection over a more refined offensive player like Boogie.
Smart move by Coach K and Team USA?
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