Jalen Brunson’s been a winner. He led Stevenson High School to its first-ever 4A state championship in 2015 and won two titles at Villanova. What’s next? An NBA championship with the New York Knicks, of course.
The point guard went from being labeled as an overpay to being the best player on a Knicks team that made it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
In an otherwise discouraging second-round series against Miami, Brunson was a bright spot for New York. In the team’s 11 postseason games, he averaged 27.8 points and 5.6 assists, shooting 47.4% from the field. After the Game 6 loss, Brunson said he “played terrible,” which gave a glimpse into how he operates.
The past is in the past, and entering the new season, Brunson’s focused on what’s to come in his second year in New York.
"“I don’t have any championship rings at the house from college, I don’t have my [high school] state rings. l don’t have anything, the National Player of the Year awards, all that stuff,” Brunson said after Thursday’s practice. “That stuff’s at my parents house because I don’t want to reflect on that. I don’t want to look at that stuff every day, because it’s not going to help me going forward.”"
Jalen Brunson doesn’t keep past championship memorabilia at his house
The Knicks didn’t trade for Josh Hart and sign Donte DiVincenzo to appease Jalen Brunson, although it helps to have that established chemistry. Villanova breeds winners, and that trio exemplifies that. Brunson wants what DiVincenzo has: an NBA title.
New York is predicted to finish fifth in the East for the second straight season, an outcome fans would be happy with. It’s been 10 years since the team secured consecutive postseason berths. Even with the Bucks and Celtics distancing themselves from the rest of the conference, the Knicks still have room to make even more noise than last year.
With Brunson and Julius Randle leading the charge, maybe New York will do something that hasn’t been done since 2001 — make the Eastern Conference Finals. Never say never.
The Knicks have their sights set on a star trade, and if one happens during the season, who knows what position the team will be in when the playoffs start. Jalen Brunson’s already a hero in NYC, and he’ll forever be immortalized in history if he accomplishes his goal of winning an NBA title.