When the New York Knicks failed to pull off a trade for star guard Donovan Mitchell, who is a New York City area native, last summer, it was seen as yet another failure for the beleaguered franchise.
But they were able to snag Jalen Brunson, who was an up-and-coming guard last season for the Dallas Mavericks.
They signed him for $104 million over four years, which was thought by some to be too much money to commit to a player who averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game last year.
But Brunson took things to the next level this season, and a look at a couple of stats indicates that he may not only be worth his contract, but he may actually be over-performing a bit relative to what he’s being paid.
Jalen Brunson rank among points guards this season:
— 6th in points
— 15th largest contract
Top __ PG this season. pic.twitter.com/9N55lpGlLH
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 17, 2023
Brunson, a New Jersey native, put up 24.0 points and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 41.6 percent from 3-point range in the regular season, all of which were career highs.
He wasn’t named to the All-Star team, which led many in the Tri-state area to feel he got snubbed, but he did help lead the Knicks to a 47-35 record and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, which far surpassed the expectations most had for them.
It earned them a first-round playoff date against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team Mitchell ended up getting dealt to.
Although Mitchell was amazing with 38 points, Brunson got the last laugh, as he scored 27 points in New York’s 101-97 Game 1 road win.
They’re now in position to win only their second playoff series since 2000, and there is no doubt Brunson has brought plenty of hope and even excitement to the New York City area when it comes to basketball.NEXT: Nomination Proves Jalen Brunson Lived Up To The Hype