The New York Knicks snagged Jalen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 off-season. It was a no-brainer for the young point guard. Not only is his dad, former NBA veteran, Rick Brunson, an assistant coach with the Knicks, the team also offered a massive four-year, $104 million deal. Who says no to that?

Many saw it as a gamble since the younger Brunson essentially had an okay regular season and a good playoff run that could’ve easily been a fluke. However, he quickly turned skeptics into believers as he played as advertised and brought the Knickerbockers back into playoff contention.

The then-26-year-old was a leader and floor general from the get-go, and went on to average 24.0 points and 6.3 assists per game on 49.1% shooting in the 2022-23 season, co-leading the Knicks to a 47-35 record. Though it ended in a second-round playoff exit, it established Brunson as a good cornerstone for the franchise.

As impressive as he was, however, he was snubbed out of an All-Star spot.


Second year’s the charm?

Perhaps extra-motivated by the snub, Brunson has continued his solid play this season. After a rough start that saw him and the Knicks go 2-4 in their first six games–one of which featured him scoring 45 points on the Milwaukee Bucks–they are now full-steam ahead for a hot run.

The Knicks have gone 7-2 over their last nine games, with the classic intensity from a Tom Thiboadeau squad in full display. They allow the fewest second-chance points (10.0) and fourth-fewest points (105.3) per game in that span, along with the fifth-best net rating (+7.0). The two defeats weren’t to pushovers either as it was against the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves, owners of the best record in each conference.

In any case, Brunson is at the center of it all, carrying the flag for the Knicks. While his scoring is identical from last season (24.2 PPG) and his assists down (4.9 APG), he has been helping off-set the abysmal numbers of his budding star, Julius Randle, who’s at 19.1 PPG (-6 from last season) with a terrible 38% shooting clip. 

Also, the current stretch has Brunson gaining a ton of steam as well as he has put up 26.0 points and 5.3 dimes per contest in his last eight outings. In Saturday’s win, his clutch gene was showcased once again.  He led a 21-point comeback vs. their conference rivals Miami Heat–the same team that booted them out of the playoffs this past season–to collect a confidence-boosting 100-98 win. 

With baskets very much needed, he answered the call, outscoring the entire Heat team 8-2 in the final three minutes:

The Knicks have a serviceable 9-6 slate through 15 games with Brunson being the group’s leader, leading scorer, most consistent performer, and go-to option in the clutch. If he keeps it up and the team maintains a good-enough playoff seeding, there’s no reason to snub him out of an All-Star selection for a second-straight year.