Best player at Team USA training camp? Teammates vote Jaren Jackson Jr.
There were a few opinions on what the public was allowed to see of USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas. Cade Cunningham of the Pistons (of the Selected Team) stood out on the first day. Jalen Brunson had his moments with the Knicks.
However, when The Joe Varden asked from athletics Team USA member Jaren Jackson Jr. won the camp’s standout. leaving
“Jaren, especially (Saturday), his energy and the way he went to the glass and went to the foul line every other possession,” said point guard Jalen Brunson, in expressing supported Jackson. “He was just a force (in Saturday’s scrimmage against Team USA).”
Jackson, the defensive player of the year, will have a big role with Team USA on both ends. Defensively he will be their anchor in the paint and Varden said that the more physical play allowed in FIBA/international games fits his style because he can use his chest more for physical players (something that would draw a whistle more quickly in an NBA setting).
Offensively, he’ll be the man in the middle—literally. The USA will see a lot of zone play at the World Cup and how effective Jackson can be getting the ball in the middle of that zone – then scoring or kicking out to long range shooters. when the defense collapses – and as a pick-and-roll man – rolls will be critical to Team USA’s success.
That straw count also had votes for Hart, Brunson, Tyrese Haliburton, Brandon Ingram, Paolo Banchero, Bobby Portis and Anthony Edwards.
For his part, Coach Steve Kerr identified Brunson as a leader.
On Monday night, we will get our first look at Team USA when they play Puerto Rico in a scrimmage in Las Vegas. After the game they will be head to Abu Dhabi for more exhibition games, then on to the World Cup, which will be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia (Team USA will play all games in Manilla). At the World Cup starting on August 25, there are 32 teams divided into eight groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the 16-team, tournament-style knockout round. The US is in Group C with Greece (that’s Giannis Antetokounmpo), New Zealand and Jordan.