Brandon Ingram hasn’t quite fit into Team USA’s lineup so he’s been benched and head coach Steve Kerr says its not because of his struggles on the court.
The Pelicans forward has been on limited minutes in USA’s first three games, so has only managed to average 4.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
He seemed pretty disgruntled that the coaching staff made him take a back seat and told The Athletic, “This is totally different than what I am used to. …it’s a little frustrating right now for me, and I’m just trying to figure out ways I can be effective.”
Knicks shooting guard Josh Hart has been promoted over Ingram and Kerr has explained the main reason why.
“Josh is our leading rebounder, had 12 more last night,” Kerr told The Athletic. “He has a strength and a tenacity to him that sometimes overcomes a height disadvantage. He’s used to guarding bigger guys with all the switching that happens in the NBA, so we go into a game comfortable with Josh as the starting four.”
The Warriors coach also gave Ingram big props for his willingness to be moved to the bench and clarified that the move wasn’t because of his lacklustre performances.
“I really liked the lineup shift for BI,” Kerr said. “The game was much smoother. He had five assists. There was more space, he had the ball more. I know he enjoyed it. … I can’t speak highly enough of BI, just his character and the way he handled that because he’s not used to coming off the bench and he was playing fine. It wasn’t, you know, he wasn’t really struggling. He just wasn’t featured in that lineup.”
Ingram himself spoke about the frustrations of his role within the team once more.
“As a good player, you always want to go out there and show who you are and do it in a winning way…,” Ingram told Christos Tsaltas. “I always want to be kind of professional about what I’m doing. I want to be a winner.”
After winning all their games fairly convincingly in the first round, Team USA will move onto the second round of the FIBA World Cup.
They will play Montenegro and Lithuania.