Plumlee Among 13 Named to USA Select Team

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by Matt Petersen

Before Kevin Durant and the rest of Team USA set out to claim the 2014 FIBA World Cup in August, they'll be getting tested by fellow NBA players in practice and scrimmages

Miles Plumlee will be one of them after being named to the 2014 USA Men's Select Team, a squad put together in order to 1) provide quality training camp competition for the senior men's national team and 2) get players into what USA Basketball National Team managing director Jerry Colangelo calls the "pipeline" of national talent.

The Suns' big man's presence shouldn't come as a surprise. Team USA will need fresh reminders on how to attack rim protectors. Perennial contender Spain, for instance, boasts Pau and Marc Gasol as well as Serge Ibaka on its national team's frontline.

Plumlee, who led Phoenix in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage, should provide solid preparation for Team USA's eventual path through the World Cup.

There's individual benefit here, as well. Plumlee's rise as a starting-quality center comes at a time when such big men are all too few in the NBA. Rim protection has become increasingly valued in basketball over the last few years, which makes fundamentally sound shot blockers/alterers like Plumlee a commodity in demand.

In the recent past, Team USA has made sure to have at least one pure (and mobile) rim protector on its roster. Tyson Chandler (2010, 2012) and Anthony Davis (2012) are the most recent examples.

Plumlee Stops Jabari at the Rim

Plumlee's age (25) and small amount of NBA mileage (two seasons) also describe the mold of player Colangelo has sought in his everflowing river of talent through the USA Basketball program.

“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline," Colangelo said.

Plumlee will join Team USA for training camp in Las Vegas later this month. His Select Team teammates include his brother Mason (Brooklyn), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Trey Burke (Utah, Jimmy Butler (Chicago), Draymond Green (Golden State), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York), Tobias Harris (Orlando), Doug McDermott (Chicago), Victor Oladipo (Orlando), Marcus Smart (Boston), Dion Waiters (Cleveland) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte).