ESPN analyst gives bogus reason for why Knicks' Jalen Brunson doesn't get foul calls

Literally, what?

New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson
New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson is six-foot-two. He averages 4.2 field goal attempts per game less than five feet from the goal and shoots 56.9% from that range. His speed and footwork allow him to create space to get shots up in the paint. Even then, he averages 6.1 free throw attempts per game, less than other guards like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (8.6) and Devin Booker (6.6).

Brunson knows how to draw contact. Several times this season, he's gone up for the shot and been fouled, but the officials didn't blow their whistle.

During Friday's overtime loss in San Antonio, Brunson dropped a career-high 61 points on 25-of-47 shooting. Only six of those points came from the free throw line, where he shot 6-of-6. In Sunday's loss to Oklahoma City, Brunson finished with 30 points on 11-of-25 shooting. He shot 4-of-8 from the free throw line, which is a rarity for him to miss four free throws.

That is to say that Brunson doesn't live at the free-throw line. More often than not, officials aren't going to call a foul when the star guard draws contact. Look no further than the end of Sunday's game for context. Brunson drove to the rim for a layup and was fouled. He should've had an and-1 opportunity, but no foul was called.

It was a controversial ending to a game the Knicks lost by one. No, that isn't why New York lost, but it would've helped if Brunson had gone to the line.

Brian Windhorst calls Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson a "foul hunter"

On his podcast, ESPN's Brian Windhorst explained why Brunson doesn't get foul calls. He said the guard is a "foul hunter" and "uses the dark arts." Windhorst said he isn't taking sides, and he did admit that Brunson got an "unfair whistle" in Houston. Windhorst added that the "fouls that he gets sometimes are not what they're going to give him."

There's a lot to unpack there. Frankly, it shouldn't matter who the player is. If a player commits a foul, then officials should call a foul.

If the reasoning is that Brunson doesn't have the same reputation as players like Trae Young or James Harden (which is a good thing), then what else does he have to do to reach that status? He's an All-Star and a soon-to-be All-NBA player. Harden's won an MVP, but Young hasn't. Brunson has done more in the postseason than Young. It's past time for the NBA world to respect Brunson.

As for referring to Brunson as a foul hunter, there are times when he exaggerates contact. There's no use in denying that. Most players in the NBA do that. It's why the league has tried to be more mindful about players flopping. Some players are still rewarded for flopping, which is an issue for another day.

Brunson is savvy. He outsmarts defenders. Sometimes, he hits what should be an impossible shot, and it's as if he summoned the dark arts. He isn't a foul hunter, though.

Maybe one day, Brunson will be a fair whistle. That's all Knicks fans ask!

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