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USA dominates Puerto Rico in friendly match, Walker Kessler stuck on the bench

The Jazz big only got four minutes in the win

2023 FIBA World Cup - USA v Puerto Rico Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The USA national team played their first friendly game in the USA Basketball Showcase before the FIBA World Cup later this month. The Americans dominated Puerto Rico 117-74.

The United States were led in scoring by Anthony Edwards and Cam Johnson with 15 each. Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jalen Brunson, and Bobby Portis had double figures in a balanced attack. Puerto Rico kept it close in the first half, but the US caught fire in the third quarter and never looked back.

Tonight's game may have been disappointing for Jazz fans excited to see Walker Kessler on the international stage. Kessler was relegated to the bench until the game's final four minutes. Many expected him to be the backup center behind Jackson Jr., but head coach Steve Kerr elected to go with veteran Bobby Portis instead. Paolo Banchero even got some center minutes in a small-ball lineup.

In Kessler's short four minutes of garbage time, he recorded five points and four rebounds. He'll have to impress the coaching staff if he wants to make the main rotation in the future, but even if he doesn't, this experience will be valuable for his development. Before the game, Kessler worked on his jumper with world-class shooting coach Chip Engelland. Every bit of Team USA work provides Kessler with experience and access to some of the top basketball minds.

Team USA's next friendly will be on August 12th against Luka Doncic and Slovenia.