The New York Knicks drew plenty of heat for signing Jalen Brunson to such a huge deal in the offseason.
Brunson had a great playoff run with the Dallas Mavericks, but most people thought they overpaid to get him just because of his ties to Leon Rose and the Knicks organization.
The Villanova product was aware of that, and he took it upon himself to silence the doubters right away.
He’s been nothing short of a star this season, and even though he didn’t get an All-Star nod, Brunson has turned plenty of heads in his first year at Madison Square Garden.
That’s why former NBA player-turned-analyst J.J. Redick didn’t hesitate to give him his flowers, going as far as to state that he’s played at the same level as every other top-notch PG in the league outside of Damian Lillard.
“This guy has not been solid; he’s been spectacular,” Redick said. “This is a guy that proved that he was a starting-caliber point guard — perhaps not an All-Star — but a starting-caliber point guard. (…) I just wanna point out that in the year of 2023, he’s playing as well as any guard in the NBA, outside of maybe Damian Lillard. This guy’s averaging 30 a game, shooting 51% from the field and 48% from the three-point line, and his impact on winning and culture in New York is unmistakable.”
"[Jalen Brunson's] playing as well as any guard in the NBA, outside of maybe Damian Lillard. … His impact on winning and culture in New York is unmistakable."
🗣 @jj_redick pic.twitter.com/IUNl0Ou7Vl
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 14, 2023
It’s hard to take the Knicks seriously, given their history of shortcomings, especially with Tom Thibodeau leading the way.
But Brunson has stepped up in a huge way, willing them into wins and bringing the best out of Julius Randle again.
Of course, the Knicks are still a star away from being a legit threat out of the Eastern Conference, but they’ve officially achieved ‘Dark Horse’ status, and plenty of that has to do with Brunson’s outstanding play.
That franchise had craved a starting-caliber point guard for over a decade, and they finally got one.
Hopefully, he’ll continue to play with that chip on his shoulder until he finally gets some respect.NEXT: NBA Analyst Discusses How Jalen Brunson Has Changed The League