Despite all of the jokes and bad-faith discussions surrounding the New York Knicks and their nearly decade-long failure to attract a superstar to their team, it seems that the organization has identified the next face of their franchise in Jalen Brunson.
Pundits who criticized the Knicks for handing Brunson his four-year, $104 million contract are eating their words, as the former Villanova Wildcat has already outplayed his salary in his first season in New York, and his agreement with the Knicks will only continue to look like a bargain as he grows as a player and his yearly earnings reduce year-over-year.
Next season, Brunson will only earn a little over $26 million, making him just the 50th highest-paid player as of right now, behind the likes of Tyler Herro, Jordan Poole, and his own teammate in Julius Randle.
Not only is his deal a criminal bargain by all means, he only compounded that value in this past postseason run, where he averaged 27.8 points and 5.6 assists on 47 percent shooting from the field, 33 percent from deep, and 91 percent from the stripe in 11 games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat.
With Brunson leading the charge, it’s clear that the Knicks have a title-worthy first option. Now, they’ll need to do the dirty work to surround him with the pieces he needs to truly compete for a title.
|New York Knicks last 4 games|
|MAY 12, 2023||vs||W||41||24|
|MAY 10, 2023||vs||L||43||19|
|MAY 08, 2023||vs||W||42||27|
|MAY 06, 2023||vs||W||36||28|
It’s shocking the amount of success Brunson was able to garner throughout the year and the postseason considering the support cast around him. Julius Randle had an incredible regular season but faded badly in the playoffs, averaging just 16.6 points on putrid 37/26/71 shooting splits, completely failing to show up as a reliable second option for Brunson.
R.J. Barrett has proven to be a solid starter but hasn’t lived up to the hype as the third-overall pick in the 2019 draft. Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley have shown promise as growing young players, but neither have presented themselves as potential future All-Stars.
It’s clear that the Knicks can compete with Brunson as one of their best players, but they’ll need to work quickly to bring in additional talent if they want to contend for a title while taking advantage of his bargain of a contract.
Perhaps Brunson’s presence and superstardom will help allure the talent that the Knicks have been chasing for years on end to finally sign with New York in free agency. Hopefully, for Brunson’s sake, that’s the case moving forward.
Jalen Brunson: "I think there is Knicks Culture. I think the experience we need, we're getting; you can't get experience without experiencing it…We've gotta continue to grow together, fight thru adversity together…stick together
"…When things aren't going your way, how are we… pic.twitter.com/CyDk7ooD0w
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) May 8, 2023
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| Title: The New York Knicks need to build around Jalen Brunson
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: May 12, 2023