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Mason Plumlee talks about his Team USA experience

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee spoke to media Wednesday afternoon at the Nets practice facility in East Rutherford about his experience with Team USA over the past several weeks. He was confident about his chances and not at all defensive about criticisms leveled against him.

Plumlee was initially on the USA Select Team, and was told that neither he, or anyone else on the team, was going to get called up to the National Team. 

"They sat us down on the Select Team the first day and said, ‘Look nobody’s gonna get pulled up. Don’t come out here coming at guys,’" Plumlee told the writers. But Plumlee impressed during practices, and scored 10 points in the third quarter of last Friday's intra-squad scrimmage before the game was ended early due to Paul George's injury.

The former Duke standout is well aware that he has a great chance at making the team, for the right reasons. "I have a very good chance," Plumlee said. "I had a strong week of practice and we’ll have a whole month to show more. To me, there are maybe five, six, seven guys that are locks, and then the rest are playing for those last couple spots. It’ll go to whoever fits what Coach wants best."

Plumlee has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism over the past week, too, after ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that he may make the team ahead of DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond. However, Plumlee isn't too worried about the critics.

"At the end of the day, [the critics] just don’t know," Plumlee said. "If anybody knows Coach K, he didn’t get to where he is by doing favors for people. He’d be the first person to get me out of there if I wasn’t cutting it. He’s all about winning, and by playing for him for four years, I know that. Now, I have an advantage in knowing what he’s looking for from me, but he didn’t win gold medals, he didn’t win world championships by doing favors for people. It’s just that simple."

Plumlee has certainly made a bigger impact than anyone thought he would when the Nets drafted at No. 22 in the 2013 NBA Draft. In his rookie season, Plumlee spent almost all of his time on the floor in the paint. He only took nine shots outside of the paint. But if he makes Team USA, he would likely play more time outside of the paint. And with a the Nets PF possible up for grabs, Plumlee still has to develop skills beyond running the floor and catching alley-oops.

Mike Mazzeo took a look at how Plumlee can be the team's starting power forward next season.

Plumlee: He could start, too. It sounds as though Plumlee has the inside track on making Team USA for the FIBA World Cup in Spain. He had a terrific first season in the NBA, and the hope is he only gets better next season. Plumlee is an athletic big man who does much of his scoring around the basket -- mostly via dunks. He obviously needs to improve his defense and his jump shot. But the Nets really like him. He’s a great guy, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he emerged as the starter.

Surprise is that Plumlee is about this summer. This is a guy who was on the Nets' summer league roster a month ago after starting only 22 games in his rookie year. Now he's fighting for a national team slot ... and the starting power forward.