Team USA Picks Jalen Brunson’s Rival Over Knicks Star

Knicks' Jalen Brunson

Getty Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks reacts after there was no call made against the Chicago Bulls.

New York Knicks star point guard Jalen Brunson was omitted from Team USA’s final roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Team USA picked Brunson’s Eastern Conference rival Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers instead.

Haliburton and Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves were the only holdovers from Team USA that failed to land a medal in the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila, Philippines. The young duo joins a veteran-laden Team USA keen on defending their title in the Olympics.

Superstars Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis lead the squad with Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Bam Adebayo as the supporting cast.

But all is not lost for Brunson as Team USA may initially keep one open spot, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

However, he is not the frontrunner to land the final Team USA roster spot.

Kawhi Leonard is the leading candidate, according to The Athletic, with Paul George, Paolo Banchero, Mikal Bridges and Brunson under consideration.

Brunson is currently the second-highest-rated American player in Hoophype’s global ranking behind Davis after averaging career-highs 28.7 points and 6.8 assists while leading the Knicks to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. He was sixth overall behind the top five players in the World (ranked in order): Serbia’s Nikola Jokic, Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Slovenia’s Luka Doncic and Davis.

Brunson averaged 11.0 points and 4.0 assists for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. Haliburton led the team in assists with 5.6 per game, averaging 8.6 points, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks.

Haliburton also edged Brunson in the NBA All-Star selection for starters in the East this season.

Knicks Coach Reveals Why Jalen Brunson is Focused This Season

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau hilariously combined Facebook and Instagram in response to a reporter’s question on why Brunson is focused this season.

“He doesn’t have a Facegram or whatever you call it,” Thibodeau told reporters, per New York Post’s Stefan Bondy.

Josh Hart, Brunson’s longtime teammate since their college days at Villanova, quickly made fun of their coach when he saw the comment go viral.

“Yo, Jalen Brunson, hit me on FaceGram,” Hart mockingly said on X, quote-tweeting Thibodeau’s hilarious comment on Brunson.

Brunson, however, has been active on X, formerly Twitter, and co-hosts a podcast with Hart.

But despite his social media activities, Brunson continued his upward trajectory in the NBA.

He punctuated the Knicks’ best regular-season finish in over 10 years with another Player of the Week honors.

The Knicks point guard averaged 38.5 points and 7.5 assists last week leading his team to a 4-0 record and securing the No. 2 seed with his 11th 40-point game in a 120-119 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, April 14.

Knicks Didn’t Expect Jalen Brunson To Be This Good

Nobody saw Brunson’s rise except himself who is finally realizing his dream to lead a team. The Knicks have finished no lower than fourth seed since they signed Brunson to a $104 million, four-year deal during the 2022 free agency.

Brunson proved all his critics wrong as he rose to become one of the league’s stars.

“Even the Knicks didn’t really know,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “NBA Today” on April 13. “And they know him better than anybody. His dad’s on the staff. His former agent, Leon Rose, is their president. They didn’t expect this. They knew they were getting a potential All-Star point guard. They’re getting a player now, who can be the best player on a legitimate contender.”

What makes Brunson and the Knicks’ run remarkable this year was he raised his game to another level when their Julius Randle went down with a shoulder injury.