Comparing Jalen Brunson's All-Star case to other top Eastern Conference guards

Jalen Brunson is in an elite group of Eastern Conference guards.

Jan 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) celebrates his three
Jan 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) celebrates his three / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Tyrese Maxey vs. Jalen Brunson

This is so controversial because at the start of the season, Maxey looked like the best guard, perhaps even in the NBA, up to a certain point. Since Joel Embiid's emergence as the MVP frontrunner, however, Maxey's numbers have dipped to 25.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists on 45-38-86 shooting splits.

His numbers are almost identical to Brunson's, with the deciding factor being his team's performance and how impactful he is to that success. Right now, the 76ers are three games ahead of the Knicks in the standings, and Maxey is a big part of that, even with Embiid having a historic season.

It's baffling how similar these two are in statistics because when you take a peak at the league's leaders in offensive rating, Maxey beats Brunson by... 0.2. It's so hard to determine who the better player is, but when you take a look at the numbers, Brunson averages more points, rebounds, and has better shooting splits.

Having the MVP on your team helps you win, but when the media talks about your competition, having that sort of help doesn't exactly aid your case individually. Embiid just scored 70 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, yet they won by just 10 points. The Knicks aren't far behind Philadelphia despite not having an MVP.

It's also worth noting that in their single matchup so far in 2024, New York smoked Philadelphia, with Brunson outscoring Maxey on better efficiency. Not that that says much because he hit two more shots than Maxey and had two more points, but Brunson looked pretty "1A" in that contest.

My pick has to go to Brunson, but it could go either way because Maxey deserves to be an All-Star just as much as Brunson does. Yes, I know the Sixers have a better record, but Maxey's hot start to the season fizzled a bit, and don't take this as a knock on Maxey because he is incredible. The evidence points to the guard from Villanova.

If you simply stack the chips against each other, Brunson should get in over Maxey because of his averages, shooting splits, and overall team impact. Maxey has the MVP, but Brunson doesn't. However, it looks like they will both get in anyway, so it's a matter of who the second starting guard will be between Mitchell, Brunson, and Maxey.