The New York Knicks find themselves in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, firmly in the middle of a playoff race.
They have largely performed well, with a balanced offensive attack and strong defense.
However, the emergence of Jalen Brunson this season is one thing that has helped push the Knicks in the right direction.
"Whatever it takes to win. I could have 38, or I could have 3 points. If we win, that's all I really care about"
– Jalen Brunson pic.twitter.com/NqGj3sTH6o
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 5, 2023
This offseason, the Knicks signed Brunson to a four-year, $104 million contract.
The signing came off a strong 2021-22 season that saw Brunson average 16.3 points, along with 21.6 points in the playoffs.
However, there were some critiques of the deal as an overpay for a player that shined because he was alongside Luka Doncic.
With that edge against the signing, Brunson entered this season with a lot to prove.
He has done exactly that, performing at an even higher level so far and posting career-best numbers.
In 36 games, he is averaging 20.8 points and 6.5 assists per game.
He has entered the point guard role and excelled with the team, being their second-leading scorer behind Julius Randle and becoming a dependable facilitator.
Brunson has also shown the ability to take over games, like he did against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night with 38 points.
All 17 Jalen Brunson Field Goals Tonight (38 Points)
Beautiful Basketball. pic.twitter.com/w84eixho8z
— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) January 5, 2023
By giving the Knicks another scoring option, more opportunities have opened up for Randle who has seen a resurgence after an underwhelming 2021-22 season.
When you put all of this together, you get a young team that is starting to put it together.
They are in the middle of the playoff hunt, and a large part of that has been Brunson’s play.