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In Brooklyn Nets "youth movement," no one more important than Bojan Bogdanovic and Mason Plumlee

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Both Mason Plumlee and Bojan Bogdanovic spent the summer in Spain playing in the FIBA World Cup with decidedly different outcomes. Plumlee won the gold. Bogdanovic was part of a disappointing --and divided-- Croatian national team. But Plumlee was a bench-warmer who played few minutes. Bogdanovic was the tournament's second leading scorer.  As the Nets third World Cup rep --Jorge Gutierrez of Mexico-- said of Bogdanovic, recalling his team's game vs. Croatia. "I don't think he missed a shot!  He is very good."

Plumlee and Bogdanovic have something else in common. They are the leading members of the Nets so-called "youth movement."  What differentiates them from others is that Plumlee, 24, and Bogdanovic, 25, expect to be part of the team's rotation.

Lionel Hollins has said several positive things about Bogdanovic both at Media Day and after practices.  "I like Bojan," he told a press conference Friday. "He's a basketball player, not just a three point shooter."  He told the media Monday the same thing, adding how well he moves without the ball, critical to the coach's motion offense.

For Bogdanovic, who seems in genuine awe of his surroundings and All-Star teammates, the transition has been a bit of a shock, particularly the intensity of the practices.

"It’s a little bit tough for me [so far], because I’m not used to practicing like this, with this kind of energy and toughness," Bogdanovic told Tim Bontemps. "Everything is new for me the first couple of days, but over the next few days I’ll pick it up."

He also told Bontemps how much he appreciates Kevin Garnett. "This is the first time that I have a chance to play with a player like that," Bogdanovic said. "He’s always trying to help me. He’s one of the best and I’m very happy to be in the same locker room as him."

But he admitted he is sometimes mystified by what KG is saying on the court. "I don’t understand all of it, but I’m trying to learn," he said with a laugh. "[But] even the other guys don’t understand, I think."

There hasn't been much written about Plumlee since camp began, but he's been working mainly on his free throw shooting, with the assistance of assistant coach Paul Westphal, who shot 82 per cent over his 12-year career.  It's part of Lionel Hollins plan to get Plumlee more involved in the offense, getting beyond his role last season as a high-wire act.

"You’re always going to get your field goals, but you need to be getting to the free-throw line a lot to be a high-volume scorer," Plumlee told Andrew Keh. "Practice is practice — but as far as that goes, I’m shooting as well as I ever have."

Said his coach, ""It’s about being able to be a credible shooter and being able to be a credible post-up player with skills: jump hooks, jump shots, free throws, everything."

Plumlee, of course, has a history of surprising people. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting after being taken at No. 22 and the Nets were 16-6 with him as a a starter. And no one expected him to make Team USA either.