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Knicks Heroes Balling Out Internationally

Jalen Brunson Playing Basketball For Team USA
Photo/ USA Basketball

Knicks Heroes Balling Out Internationally

New York Knicks players Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett both had successful seasons as they went to the second round of the playoffs this past season. Barrett was solid in the playoffs and Brunson broke out in his first season as a starter, averaging 24 points per game. However, both are looking even more dominant in the FIBA World Cup for their respective countries.

Barrett is one of the better players on Team Canada, playing alongside one of the league’s best guards in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In a game against Team Germany, Barrett erupted for 31 points in a 113-112 win over Germany in overtime. Barrett shot lights out 13-14 from the field and 4-4 from three.

One of Barrett’s biggest known weaknesses is his shooting beyond the arc. He is a career 34.3% shooter from the charity stripe. Even worse, he shot a career-low 31% from three this past season. If Barrett can seriously improve his three-point shooting during the FIBA World Cup, he could break out and become a 22-23 point per game scorer. Also, he would be a more efficient player.

Brunson Also Looking Solid

Team USA’s first contest was a scrimmage against Puerto Rico. In the blowout win, Brunson had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. In the second blowout win against Slovenia, Brunson had 11 points and eight assists.

However, in the United States’ toughest matchup so far, Brunson stepped up and looked like the best player on the court. They were going up against #1 ranked Spain, and Brunson went off for 22 points while shooting 9-9 from the field and 2-2 from three. He also had five assists. Spain was without their veteran point guard Ricky Rubio as he is taking a break from basketball to focus on his mental health. However, Spain is still a formidable squad led by brothers Juancho Hernangomez and Willy Hernangomez.

Team USA is hardly the New York Knicks, and international competition is a far cry from the NBA. That being said, winning at a high level with elite teammates is a growth opportunity for young players, and if Brunson can get a taste for international gold, he might come back more prepared to lead the Knicks to hoist some gold of their own.


Brian Ramos is a contributor on Back Sports Page. Along with receiving his B.A. in Sports Communications, he has over a year of experience in the sports industry and has interviewed a variety of people in the sports industry, such as Julius RandleBobby Portis, Don La Greca, Adam Schefter, and others. In addition, to writing, Ramos has called women’s lacrosse and baseball on ESPN+. Ramos has a podcast on YouTube called Cut The Nets, along with his co-host Jeremy Gretzer. You can find Brian on Instagram at @Brian.ramos0219 and Twitter at @brianramos0219.

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