New York Knicks fans are in for a treat this summer because not only are Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart representing Team USA at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, but RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier are competing for their countries, too. Exhibition games have already started, but the real competition won’t begin until the end of August.
Off the court, Brunson and Hart are an easy source of entertainment, so the two of them playing for the national team for the first time together will bring many laughs. On the court, Brunson has been dubbed as a “natural leader” by Steve Kerr, and Hart will get to play in his first exhibition game this weekend after signing a four-year, $81 million extension with the Knicks earlier this week.
As for Barrett and Fournier, New York fans are more excited to watch the former at the World Cup than the latter. However, there’s good reason to root for Fournier to perform well for France.
3 Positive outcomes Knicks fans should be rooting for at 2023 World Cup
3: Good health
New York has three key players competing in the World Cup, and although Evan Fournier is out of the rotation, it would be a disaster if he suffered a serious injury. If that were to happen, the Knicks’ chance of trading him would be shot.
Let’s take a look at Jamal Murray. His 2022-23 season ended in mid-June when the Nuggets won their first NBA title in franchise history, but he’s still on Team Canada’s roster. Murray has dealt with injuries in the past, so he’s playing it safe and missing Canada’s exhibition games so that he can focus on his offseason recovery.
Representing your country is a big deal, but it doesn’t come without risk. Since Josh Hart has signed his extension, no players on Team USA’s roster have to worry about missing time on the court because they’re due for a new contract. That’s good news for the United States as the team looks to avenge the seventh-place finish in the 2019 World Cup.
Injuries can happen at any time, whether it be during workouts, practices, or games. As fun as it’ll be to see Brunson, Hart, Barrett, and even Fournier back in action at the World Cup, the hope should be that no major injuries are sustained. The Knicks haven’t made any significant moves this summer but are entering a 2023-24 season that should end with a playoff berth for the second-straight year.