The much-awaited premiere of the new-look Team USA is finally here! Tonight, Team USA will take on Puerto in their first exhibition game in Las Vegas. This will be the only exhibition game on US soil before they head to their next game which will be held in Malaga, Spain.
For Utah Jazz fans this is their first chance to see Walker Kessler with team USA, although it looks as though he may be coming off the bench.
New ESPN story: Steve Kerr has repeatedly pointed to Jalen Brunson as Team USA's leader, and did again Saturday after the national team swept scrimmages with the select team.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 6, 2023
It also seems clear the Knicks star will be part of Team USA's starting lineup. https://t.co/EokSPDnux0
From Bontemps’ article:
Kerr’s faith in Brunson is evident in the way he has deployed his lineups through the first couple of days of practice. While Kerr has repeatedly said there’s nothing set in stone, Team USA has lined up with four of the same five players in the starting lineup the past two days: Brunson at point guard, Mikal Bridges and Brandon Ingram on the wings; and Jaren Jackson Jr. at center.
On Friday it was Brooklyn Nets forward Cam Johnson in the fifth staring spot while on Saturday it was Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards. Sunday is set to be a noncontact practice, according to Kerr, before Monday night’s first exhibition game against Puerto Rico.
Whatever the final starting lineup is, Kessler will provide Steve Kerr a valuable defensive option. Whether he simply backs up Jaren Jackson Jr., or plays next to him, Kessler provides team USA the ability to go big if they need to. Kessler is also a new face to a lot of teams, they may not realize just how good he can be just yet and it wouldn’t be surprising if Kessler earns more minutes as the tournament goes on. He’s a dominant inside presence and a force inside on offense with his soft touch and offensive rebounding.
In any case, Team USA is young, athletic, and talented and should be a lot of fun to watch and this experience for Kessler is invaluable for his development.
When: 8:00 PM MT
Where: Las Vegas, NV
Live Stream: Courtside 1891