It certainly wasn't a defense and not even an explanation, but in an interview with a North Carolina newspaper, Mike Krzyzewski talks about why he chose his former center for Team USA ... and how USA Basketball only decided at the last minute to choose a select team to practice against the senior team.
"We weren't even sure we were going to have a Select team for the training in Las Vegas, so that was a last-minute addition, just having a Select team," Krzyzewski told Bret Stretlow of The Fayetteville Observer. "The Select team did a terrific job, and Mason all of a sudden came to the forefront and made us say, 'Shouldn't we look at this guy? We have the perimeter, but what about the bigs?'
Another factor, Coach K said, was Kevin Durant's decision to drop out. That, he said, changed the dynamic of the final roster.
"It made looking at the '4' and '5' even a little more different, so it was fortuitous that (Plumlee) was asked to be part of the USA Select team," said Krzyzewski of the player he mentored for four years at Duke.
Krzyzewski also said he expects to run a rotation of eight or nine players and that Plumlee isn't likely to be in that mix.
"All the coaches and players felt like Mason would be a valuable part of this team and that he gives us insurance at the ‘4’ and ‘5’ with a big," Krzyzewski said. "Whether he plays a lot of minutes or none, he’s valuable because he’s smart, he talks, he has good spirit and he just fits in well with the other pieces we have on the team."
Meanwhile, John Schuhmann notes that the Nets are among the NBA leaders in number of players in the FIBA World Cup, with Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jorge Gutierrez -- along with free agent Andray Blatche.
- Mason Plumlee a surprise but fitting choice to round out Team USA roster - Bret Stretlow - Fayetteville Observer
- World Cup stacked with NBA players - John Schuhmann - NBA.com
Coach K discusses Team USA, Kyrie, Plumlee - Chris Kudailis - Charlotte Observer