Last offseason, the New York Knicks brought home the city’s smiling, four-time All-Star, Kemba Walker. No complaints from this writer. Walker is from the Bronx, where I grew up. He played ball in the same playground as my son. Kemba, an All-Star, UConn champion, always with that smile. Unfortunately, Walker couldn’t finish out his first season. His knees couldn’t bear the weight of the starting point guard minutes.
Jalen Brunson has a trait that can’t be measured
Jalen Brunson is a point guard with an attitude. That challenging “I’ll show you” attitude. That’s important when you’re a Knick.
During his “Welcome to New York” interview, Brunson shared with MSG’s Bill Pidto how he’s always had to prove himself. In high school, college, and even in the Association. He told Pidto it was said he was either “too slow, not athletic enough, or too small”.
While at Villanova, with 18 points and six assists, he led them to the 2018 NCAA Championship. Along the way, he picked up:
- National Player of the Year
- NCAA East Most Outstanding Player
- Bob Cousy Award
- Big East Player of the Year
These are just a few of his accolades.
In four years with the Dallas Mavericks, Brunson started 127 games. He averaged 15.4 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.6 rebounds during those games.
Last season, coming off the bench, Brunson averaged 11.9 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.0 rebounds. He shot 49.8% from the field, 38.2% from beyond the arc, and 81.5% from the line.
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The Knicks have a point guard with playoff experience
The 2021-22 season was excellent for the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic had a sensational season. Jalen Brunson didn’t do too bad himself. The Mavs went to the Western Conference finals, where they were defeated in five games by the Golden State Warriors.
The Mavs beat the Utah Jazz in six games in the first round. In game two of the series, Brunson exploded for 41 points. In the semi-final round against the Phoenix Suns, the Mavs would come out on top 4-3. In game three of the series, Jalen scored a game-high 28 points.
In the Mavs’ 18 playoff games this postseason, Brunson averaged 21. 6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
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What Brunson expects
Jalen was recently interviewed on the JJ Redick podcast, “The Old Man and the Three,” and had this to say about what he expects from the Knicks’ coaching staff:
“I’m excited for it, because it’s a different level of accountability. They know I’m the type of person who likes to be coached and likes to be pushed. To have someone like that, where you can possibly cross lines, but know it’s all out of love and all out of respect, they know what type of person I am, how I’m made up. I just know they’re going to push me, try to get the best out of me.”
I think Jalen Brunson will be a great player and point guard for the Knicks. He’s young, hungry with an attitude, and teachable. Madison Square Garden is the world’s most famous arena. You have to be strong, with an attitude to play here. It’s a prerequisite.
The Knicks are finally doing what many fans, myself included, have wanted all along. To build a team, homegrown through the draft and free agency. We have to trust this front office. They’ve made mistakes, but they are correcting them. Kemba Walker to Jalen Brunson was a good start.