Jalen Brunson struggled in Team USA’s comeback win against Germany in their FIBA warmup game and NBA analyst Bill Simmons thinks the team needs a reality check.
“Team USA’s biggest issue for the actual tournament — accepting that [Tyrese] Haliburton and [Austin] Reaves are [two] of the best guys on the team,” Simmons posted on X following USA’s 99-91 win over Germany. “They’re gonna have to be out there in any big situation even if feelings get hurt.”
It would seem as though Simmons comments were aimed at Knicks star Brunson, who sat on the bench and watched Austin Reaves, Haliburton and Anthony Edwards dig the team out of a hole.
Offensively, Brunson struggled to connect as he only shot 2-6 and was limited to scoring eight points.
Though it was his defense that was the most worrying part of the performance as Germany’s Dennis Schroder and Andreas Obst were able to easily get past a 6-foot-2 Brunson.
In the third quarter, Obst capitalised from a Brunson foul and got a four-point play, which allowed Germany to take a double digit lead for the first time in the game.
That was where coach Steve Kerr drew the line and replaced Brunson with Haliburton, who was the catalyst to cutting their opponents’ lead to just four points.
But it was Anthony Edwards who stole the show with a 34-point outing to go along with six rebounds, while nailing four three-pointers.
This led Kerr to make some very strong statements about the 22-year-old.
“He’s unquestionably the guy,” Kerr said after the game. “You can see he knows it. But now the team knows it, and I think the fans see it. … He genuinely believes he’s the best player in the gym every single night. And he’s such a dynamic young player. I think he’s taking a leap.”
Reaves also finished with 16 points off the bench and scored some important points in key moments during the second half of the game.
Brunson played only 15 minutes – tied for the lowest among starters with New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram.