- Is Jalen Brunson A Legitimate MVP Candidate?
Is Jalen Brunson A Legitimate MVP Candidate?
Chants of “MVP! MVP” rained down from the crowd at Madison Square Garden on Thursday as Jalen Brunson was pouring in 40 points to lead the New York Knicks to a comeback victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The home crowd serenades its star player on a nightly basis but is it time that those chants become a reality?
Brunson signed a four-year, $104-million contract with the Knicks prior to the 2022-23 season. When he signed, many scratched their heads as Brunson became the first player to earn a deal of $100 million or better without being selected to an All-Star team.
Less than two years into this contract, Brunson is one of the biggest bargains in the league and is making the majority of NBA fans rethink his value.
The question coming into the season was, is Jalen Brunson a superstar? The view of the Knicks entering the year was that they were a rock-solid team that should return to the postseason and maybe have a chance to win a series. Now, the Knicks sit third in the Eastern Conference and have many fans believe that they can make a run to the conference finals.
Yes, there are many reasons for this.
New York finally unloaded R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in a trade that brought back OG Anunoby. Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart signed in the offseason. Defense and depth secured, even though the team could use another option off the bench.
Tom Thibodeau is a well-above-average head coach and deserves to be treated as so. It also does not help that Julius Randle is playing at an All-Star level and the Knicks hope this continues when he returns from a shoulder injury.
All of this put together makes for success but the major reason is Brunson continuing to take the next step. Last season, he averaged 24 points and 6.2 rebounds in his first season in the Big Apple. This year, Brunson is putting up 27.1 points per game, 10th in the NBA, and 6.4 assists while shooting 41.6% from the three-point line. Over the last 14 games, Brunson is scoring 30.6 points per game.
Not only is Brunson entering superstar category but many believe that he should be thrown into MVP considerations. This seems foreign because he is on the smaller side of contenders. The 6-foot-2 point guard plays his own brand of basketball, has a high IQ, and has remained extremely consistent.
The Knicks are currently 32-17 this season and trailing only the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings. Come postseason time, the Knicks are hoping to have a chance at one of the two in the finals.
If this is going to happen, Brunson needs to continue to play an this new MVP level.
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