Brian Windhorst of ESPN sent a little shock through Twitter this afternoon when he posted this:
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
Naturally that got everybody talking, and not just Kings fans. Cousins has widely been regarded as a virtual lock to make the roster considering the fact that big names like Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge are out for this summer. Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated, who has been in Vegas this week following Team USA even just wrote a piece today where he ranked Cousins as 6th among candidates to be selected for the 12 man roster.
In that piece Golliver remarks:
...he just looks a cut above the rest of the bigs in camp, aside from Davis. Although personality and behavioral issues could always undo his roster candidacy in the blink of an eye, Cousins has regularly punished defenders around the basket this week, and he's easily the best-equipped to handle Spain's Marc Gasol, the USA's biggest individual threat, from a physical standpoint.
Cousins has been getting nothing but good reviews, so how could Plumlee, a rookie in the NBA last year, possibly make the roster over him? It seems that it may come down to style of play. News10's Sean Cunningham got this quote from Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"In DeMarcus' case, the style we play lends itself to what Anthony [Davis], or even what [Mason] Plumlee does and a little bit of [Andre] Drummond. DeMarcus' game is different, so he an adjustment to make and he's trying to make it. Also, as he grows, we have to look and see if there is something we can do to bring more out of his game. We're going to take a good look at our bigs."
"He's been attentive and [he's] tried - diving on the floor for loose balls. They all have to adapt and it's a different way of playing defense - ‘how do you play defense with all these athletes, and how do you help out?' We [will] have to see in games - these exhibition games - how that will wash out. We haven't made a decision and we won't for a while, but we will definitely take a long look at the bigs."
That being said, I feel like it would be a huge slight to include Plumlee over not just Cousins, but almost any of the other bigs at the camp who all provide more experience and outright talent. Of course, there's the Duke connection, as Coach K knows Plumlee from their time at Duke together.
We'll see if anything comes of this, but I have a feeling that Mason Plumlee might not have the most fun time at the next Team USA vs. Select Team scrimmage. Team USA is expected to narrow down its roster from 19 to 15 by the end of this week, and then pare down to 12 after exhibitions that last through August 22nd.