Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas has been an opportunity for players to showcase their skills and stake their claim on the national team. One player who has caught the attention of head coach Steve Kerr is Jalen Brunson. With his natural leadership qualities, impressive performance, and ability to make plays, Brunson has positioned himself as a potential leader of the team.
The Highlight Dunk
During a recent practice, Jalen Brunson stole the ball and found himself with a clear path to the basket. To everyone’s surprise, the 6-foot-1 point guard rose up and dunked the ball, igniting the gym and earning praise from Coach Kerr. This lighthearted moment showcased Brunson’s athleticism and added to his growing reputation as a dynamic player.
Coach Kerr has repeatedly emphasized Brunson’s natural leadership qualities. As a point guard, Brunson’s ability to take charge and rally his teammates makes him an ideal leader for Team USA. He has been seen leading the team in chants and exuding confidence on and off the court. Kerr acknowledges that leadership also comes from other players on the team, but Brunson stands out as the natural leader.
Coach Kerr’s faith in Brunson as a leader is evident in his lineup choices during training camp. While nothing is set in stone, Team USA has consistently started with Brunson at point guard, Mikal Bridges and Brandon Ingram on the wings, and Jaren Jackson Jr. at center. The fifth starting spot has been filled by Cam Johnson and Anthony Edwards in different practices. This consistent deployment reflects Kerr’s confidence in Brunson’s ability to lead the team.
A Small-Ball Approach
Another notable aspect of Team USA’s lineup is the emphasis on playing small. Traditional big men like Jackson, Walker Kessler, and Bobby Portis have not been on the court together during scrimmages. Instead, Kerr has experimented with lineups that feature Brunson alongside fellow point guard Tyrese Haliburton. The team aims to capitalize on the passing abilities of this group, highlighting their versatility and basketball IQ.
Exploring Different Combinations
Coach Kerr recognizes the depth and skill of the roster and is keen to explore various lineup combinations during training camp. He values players with a good feel for the game and exceptional passing abilities. This experimentation allows him to assess the potential of different players and combinations, ensuring the team is well-prepared for the upcoming challenges.
Brunson as the Key Player
Despite the ongoing lineup experimentation, it is evident that Coach Kerr sees Brunson as a key player and the leader of the team. Brunson’s role will be crucial in guiding Team USA to success in the forthcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup in the Philippines. While Brunson humbly states that he is focused on doing his job, his teammates and Kerr recognize the value he brings both on and off the court.
A Willingness to Sacrifice
Brunson appreciates the willingness of his teammates to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. He acknowledges the importance of leading by example, using his voice strategically, and understanding the dynamics of the team. This shared commitment to sacrifice and collective success bodes well for Team USA’s chances of achieving their goal of winning a gold medal.
Jalen Brunson’s meteoric rise during Team USA’s training camp is a testament to his skills, leadership, and ability to make plays. Coach Kerr’s confidence in Brunson as a natural leader aligns with the team’s small-ball approach and emphasis on versatility. As Brunson continues to excel and guide his teammates, Team USA looks poised for a successful campaign in the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup.