Brandon Ingram was demoted from Team USA’s starting lineup in favor of Josh Hart last week as head coach Steve Kerr continues to play with his roster combinations during the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Coming into the tournament, many were expecting for Ingram to fill a role previously occupied by the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. Hence him starting to begin with.
Unfortunately, Ingram has had a very disappointing 2023 FIBA World Cup run. So much so, in fact, that even Anthony Edwards has come out and given his brutally honest thoughts about it.
This week, Kerr demoted Ingram out of the starting lineup in favor of his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, Hart.
Hart, though not the naturally gifted offensive talent that Ingram is, has consistently been a better all-around player. That coupled with him and Jalen Brunson having such great chemistry due to having been teammates in both college and currently in New York made the move a no-brainer.
Ingram offered his blunt response to the demotion this week.
“I agreed with [Kerr],” Ingram told Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
Kerr, for his part, sold the move as one that could benefit all parties involved.
“I really liked the lineup shift for BI,” the Team USA head coach said.
“The game was much smoother. He had five assists. There was more space, he had the ball more. I know he enjoyed it. … I can’t speak highly enough of BI, just his character and the way he handled that because he’s not used to coming off the bench and he was playing fine. It wasn’t, you know, he wasn’t really struggling. He just wasn’t featured in that lineup.”
Ingram is an interesting talent. He has all the skills necessary for success, but he struggles when he plays with other great players. There is a reason why, even with the New Orleans Pelicans, he plays his best ball with Zion Williamson out.
It’s also why after all these years, the thing that most NBA fans know him for is his first love being a little person as opposed to any really substantive basketball accomplishments.
He is gifted as a hooper, for sure, but he hasn’t yet shown himself to be a meaningful difference-maker.
Quite the 24 hours for Nebraska football. https://t.co/Gq8m61Aq0a
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 1, 2023
Time will tell if Ingram can ultimately remedy that throughout the rest of the tournament.
If he finds a solution, it would likely go a long way to help him with the Pelicans, too.
Will Ingram be able to make his own unique mark at some point during the remainder of Team USA’s 2023 FIBA World Cup run? Time will tell.