Team USA made their final cuts a few days ago and have something they haven’t had for a long time in the World Cup…Big men depth. Davis, Drummond, Cousins, and Plumlee…yes Mason Plumlee actually made the cut over guys like Damian Lillard and Chandler Parsons, but that’s besides the point.
Team USA went big this year because of one reason: Spain. Spain has the front court duo of Marc and Pau Gasol. Two skilled 7 footers who would eat guys like Kenneth Faried and Rudy Gay up if we played them in the front court. Unless a team like Argentina or Brazil gets really hot, Spain will be the team we should be facing in the championship game.
How do you beat Spain? Well you need to push the pace, but you also need to have good post defenders. That’s where Mason Plumlee comes in. Big, athletic, and 6’10, Plumlee can both run and defend the pick and roll.
How did Plumlee even get considered for Team USA? Well, Plumlee was a late first round pick that didn’t get much playing time until Mr. Brook Lopez was injured for the Nets. Plumlee stepped right in, and immediately sparked the Nets to an impressive second half to the season, making it to the rising stars game and becoming one of the better back-up Center in the league. His season stats were 7.4ppg, 4.4rpg, .9pg, .7spg, and .8bpg. Those stats don’t reflect how he invigorated the Nets each game with his energy. He also had one of the more memorable plays of the season, blocking Lebron James’s attempt at a game-winner in a 88-87 win for the Brooklyn Nets:
Plumlee started on the practice squad with Marcus Smart and just like Smart, he impressed coaches. With guys like Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler choosing not to participate, combined with the performance he had in the scrimmages, Coach K promoted him to the 15 Man Roster. From there, he impressed with his hard work and energy in practice and made the final cut. As of now, Plumlee will be battling for the third big man spot with Andre Drummond, behind Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. I can see Plumlee coming off the bench getting about 8-12 mpg with 4ppg, .2apg, 3rpg, 1bpg, .3spg. Don’t be surprised to see Plumlee get more minutes if Team USA struggles against the worldly big men of the FIBA World Cup.