Monday, May 27, 2024

USA Basketball boss explains Jalen Brunson’s shock absence in Olympic squad

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USA basketball managing director Grant Hill explained his thought process of New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson not making the Olympic team.

The NBA icon Hill was asked about the snub of Brunson who has put together the best season of his six-year career.

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USA basketball boss Grant Hill shared his reasoning for New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson not making the 2024 Olympic teamCredit: Getty
Brunson averaged more than 28 points per game and led the New York Knicks to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2023-24

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Brunson averaged more than 28 points per game and led the New York Knicks to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2023-24Credit: Getty

On Tuesday, Team USA revealed the 12 All-Star players that have made the 2024 Paris Olympics squad.

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was the 12th and final member of the team.

The 11 other players that made the team are: LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, Bam Adebayo and Tyrese Haliburton.

However, Brunson wasn’t selected to the team despite averaging 28.7 points per game during his 2023-24 All-Star campaign.

He also led the injury-riddled Knicks to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The USA basketball boss Hill spoke about Brunson not making the Olympics squad.

“Jalen, the season he’s having is just magical, it’s impressive,” the 51-year-old told reporters.

“He’s almost played himself into the MVP conversation and he’s been a great member of our program.”

Hill referenced the fact that Brunson was a member of 2014 USA Under 18 National Team.

But he acknowledged the 12 players that made the USA team as the reason for the 27-year-old’s absence.

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“It’s important for me to honor and celebrate the 12 that are on the team and not get caught up by this person or that person,” Hill explained.

“There were some really difficult decisions to be made.

“We have players who are incredible, who have helped us in the past, who are having current seasons off the charts.

“The job was putting together a team where I felt the pieces fit. This is not an indictment on anybody else.

Brunson will prepare to face the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs this weekend

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Brunson will prepare to face the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs this weekendCredit: Getty

“You wish you could have three or four more.

“That was tough having to say ‘no’ to certain people I respect and admire. He’s one of them but there’s plenty of others we had to say no to.”

The Team USA basketball team will hope to win their fifth straight gold medal.

Brunson, meanwhile, will have the task of going up against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The series will begin on Saturday night.

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