Mason Plumlee picked for Team USA Roster over DeMarcus Cousins?

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Machir over at The Sporting News echoed the confusion and bewilderment of this basketball decision and decided it was all about risk.  And while Cousins is the much better player, Plumlee is a lower risk.  

"There is no question that Cousins is the most talented offensive player among the candidates and has perhaps the second best skill set of the bunch, next to Davis. But, again, it is about risk. Is he worth the risk when Team USA will lean heavily on its backcourt, one which will be far and away the best unit at the FIBA World Cup? Cousins is at his best when he’s playing one-on-one. Team USA doesn’t need him to do that. Is he worth the risk considering Drummond already struggles with foul trouble and making sound decisions in big moments? Limiting mental errors will be key at the World Cup, and having two frontcourt players prone to making them is not something the coaching staff would want. What it comes down to is not who the better player is, because the answer is obviously Cousins. It comes down to the coaches wanting a low-risk role player with athleticism and intangibles. Plumlee fills that need significantly better than Cousins. Based on the reports out of Las Vegas, the staff prefers an athletically gifted role player as opposed to a mercurial talent. It may not be right, but it seems to be what the coaching staff thinks is best for Team USA."

In the end, it’s a horrible basketball decision no matter how you look at it and part of Coach K’s job is to pick the best players to represent Team USA and not favor a former player.  I don’t think there is a basketball coach in America that would make this call with a straight face, but to play devils advocate, this could be more of a Jerry Colangelo decision rather than Coach K.  If we recall, the USA basketball chair called Cousins “immature” a couple of years ago.  ‘

This decision is not official yet however.  As fate would have it, Cousins and Plumlee will play on separate teams in tonight’s intrasquad scrimmage tonight at 9:00PM in Las Vegas.  And yes, it will be televised on ESPN .

A dominating performance by Cousins over Plumlee would create more backlash over this horrible decision if it happens.  For Cousins, it’s time to step up and prove his worth on the court once again.