Grading key Knicks players after start to 2022-23 season

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With the Knicks having gone through their first 18 games of the season, we are starting to get a better view of how well certain players are really performing. Any player can start a season hot or cold, but being nearly 20 games into the year, this may just be how certain players are going to perform this season.

Plenty of things can change as the season progresses, but it is still interesting to take a look at just how good or bad this Knicks squad has been this season. For the record, players who have not consistently been in the rotation, like Quentin Grimes, will not receive grades for now. This is simply because we have not seen enough out of the 22-year-old.

Giving key Knicks players performance-based grades after start to 2022-23

These grades will be based on the player’s performance level, whether they met their expectations before the season, and how well they have played in their roles. While there may be a big gap between two players in terms of talent, they may have the same grade due to how well they have played in their respective roles.

Regardless, It has been a very interesting season thus far for the majority of players, as almost everyone has had both moments of playing extremely well and moments of looking rough on the court. There have been a couple of consistent studs on this Knicks squad that have certainly impressed this season.

Jalen Brunson: A

After signing with the Knicks on a four-year, 104 million dollar deal, the team’s front office faced heavy criticism for “overpaying” the 26-year-old. However, through the Knicks’ first 18 games, that crowd has been awfully silent.

This is due to Brunson’s great level of play, as in this time span he is averaging 20.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game while shooting 49.6% from the field and 29.7% from three on 4.1 attempts.

The only knock anyone can give on Brunson’s offensive game this season is his lack of an efficient three-point shot. Despite this, Brunson has always been a league-average or better shooter throughout his five-year career, so I’m sure he’ll start knocking them down at an efficient rate soon enough.

Outside of this, the only other knock I can give Brunson is that he has not been the best defender this season, but that was expected. Everything he does offensively he does at a great level and the starting lineup has reaped the benefits.

What has been my favorite part of Brunson’s game this season has definitely been his playmaking. Outside of Julius Randle’s magical 2020-21 season, the Knicks have not had a legit playmaker for quite some time.

Brunson is averaging 6.7 assists per game to just 1.7 turnovers per game. While playmaking is obviously more than just assists and turnovers, this stat is great to see.

The Knicks have been waiting for a player like Brunson for so long now. There are no doubts that he has surpassed almost any expectation people may have had for him before the start of the season.

Cam Reddish: B

Before the season, many were unsure if Reddish would even have a spot in the rotation. Surprisingly enough, Tom Thibodeau made Reddish the starting shooting guard before his groin injury.

In this new role, Reddish has performed rather well, averaging 9.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 45.4% from the field and 32.7% from three on 3.1 attempts.

These stats may not impress many, but the big moments Reddish has had, as well as his much-improved defense, have shown just how valuable he is to this team. While many of the starters have failed on the defensive end this season, Reddish has stood tall and has provided some rather impressive defensive prowess.

In addition to this, Reddish has already had multiple big offensive games and clutch moments this season. Considering how poor former Knicks starting shooting guard Evan Fournier performed to start the season, Reddish has really been a savior.

Reddish’s grade would be much higher if he could be a tad more consistent on offense, but with the defense he brings to the floor, I’ll take the big-time moments when they come. I don’t like to do this, but Knicks fans have to give Thibodeau props for pulling Fournier out of the rotation in favor of Reddish. This move, while obvious, has benefitted the team.

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