Mason Plumlee is a promising NBA big man who averaged 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in a limited role during his rookie season with the Brooklyn Nets.
It should go without saying that he is nowhere near the on-court talent that is DeMarcus Cousins.
But USA Basketball is a funny thing, in that qualities like being in the program from a young age and having a pristine attitude can sometimes be more important than pure skill, and the latest report about who might make the final 12-man roster that will compete in the World Championships later this summer would certainly be a reflection of those tenets, should it come to pass.
2 things from Team USA: post practice games between Durant/Harden/George are epic; Mason Plumlee likely to make team over DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins has a long history of inappropriate behavior on the basketball court, despite being one of the game’s top talents at his position.
Mike Krzyzewski often mentions other bigs first when discussing who is making an impact at camp in Las Vegas this week.
“The big guys have given good efforts: Drummond, Cousins, even Faried. Then Plumlee, we didn’t expect that (level of performance),” Krzyzewski said, via our own Kurt Helin who is in Vegas with Team USA this week. “He’s going to be in the scrimmage Friday, so we’ll take a look at that.”
Despite the many skills that Cousins possesses, the ones sought after by Team USA in a backup big man role will be energy, defense, and most importantly, filling the required role without becoming a distraction.
If Cousins is left off the team, it will be a sign that his maturity — at least in the eyes of Jerry Colangelo and Coach K — isn’t where it needs to be to represent USA Basketball in international competition.