Miles Plumlee was one of 13 young NBA players who made the U.S. Men’s Select Team, USA Basketball announced yesterday. The Select Team is, in essence, the junior varsity squad to the Men’s National Team that includes the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant and will represent the country in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janiero.
The Select Team, which was founded in 2007 and has become a de facto feeder program for the Olympic squad, will train with the National Team in Las Vegas from July 28 to the 31 as it prepares for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
“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,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director. “Again this summer — as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 — the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.”
Here is a full list of the players on team.
- Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
- Trey Burke (Utah Jazz)
- Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks)
- Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic)
- Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls)
- Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
- Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
- Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns)
- Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
- Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets)
Though players like Durant, Derrick Rose, and Paul George have previously played on the Select Team, not all of the members hace gone on star in the NBA (or make the National Team). Some guys never live up to their early acclaim, and some selections — like with Smart and McDermott this year — are mere speculations about a player’s potential for success.
Still, it is a good barometer of who the most promising young players are. And Plumlee being on this list just further shows how bad the Pacers’ 2013 summer trade with the Suns was.
Larry Bird clearly made a major error of evaluation in giving up Plumlee for Luis Scola. And he compounded that blunder by including Indiana’s 2014 first round pick.
Now — with Lance Stephenson gone, Plumlee in Phoenix, and no draftees joining the team this summe — the Pacers cupboard is bare of young talent, outside of George. Yes, they still have Roy Hibbert and George Hill who are far from old, but they are both known commodities and veterans on not great contracts. Moreover, Hibbert could opt out of his deal next summer and head elsewhere just as David West gets yet another year older.
The Pacers should still be a good team next season, but the future after that includes little in the way of a clear path to maintain contender status. And it’s mainly because a franchise that just 12 months ago seemed to have an enviable, rising, young core now has no rising players in its pipeline.
Perhaps the Pacers could take some notes from USA Basketball’s long-term planning strategy and start to use the D-League, something it has never done in earnest — an increasingly rare behavior in a league that has 30 franchises all fighting for any advantage they can find when it comes to acquiring young, cheap talent.