Mason Plumlee was back in a natural setting on Tuesday as the Team USA held practice at the PNY Center, the Nets’ former practice facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Also in attendance was a less familiar face, but one Plumlee will be seeing a whole lot more of next NBA season: Lionel Hollins.
The new Nets coach, who replaced Jason Kidd earlier in the offseason, believes the young center unquestionably will benefit from being on a roster with the likes of All-Stars Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose.
“[It’s] always a positive,” Hollins told amNewYork. “This is like being on an All-Star team but also being more controlled and formal with a more NBA-like purpose in terms of the structure.”
Plumlee, one of four centers on a U.S. team expected to keep two or three after final cuts are made in the coming days, echoed his coach and believes this summer will benefit him better than his previous one.
“You can’t simulate the competition of playing for a spot,” Plumlee said. “You can go and play pickup. You can go and play, get in different pro-ams and stuff. Actually competing for a spot, to me, that’s a better way to play than some of these other things.”
In about 15 minutes against Brazil on Saturday, Plumlee scored nine points and made all three of his shots from the field. He also grabbed four rebounds and had three steals as the backup for Anthony Davis. The other two centers, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond, did not play.
Team USA plays an exhibition game on Wednesday night at the Garden against the Dominican Republic.