Jalen Brunson started the 2023-24 season rocky for the New York Knicks, but he's gotten into a groove in the past six games. On Friday, he scored a season-high 32 points (6-of-10 from three) in the team's first-ever In-Season Tournament win against the Wizards.
Brunson wasn't the only Knicks guard who stood out. With Quentin Grimes out, Immanuel Quickley played a season-high 33 minutes, and he delivered. With his mother sitting courtside in an arena that isn't too far from where IQ was raised, he dropped a season-high 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field.
In the fourth quarter alone, Quickley scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. It's still early, but it's looking like he could play his way out of New York's price range. Remember, he'll be a restricted free agent in the offseason after the front office opted not to extend him before the October deadline.
The stat sheet will show you that Brunson and Quickley were the Knicks' leading scorers, but it won't show you the hustle plays that both guards made. It didn't matter that New York was up big late in the game. Brunson and Quickley didn't hesitate to dive after loose balls, taking hard falls in the process.
Jalen Brunson and Immanuel Quickley's hustle plays stand out in Knicks win
Jalen Brunson hasn't made an All-NBA or All-Star team, but he proved last season that he's a star. When you think of stars around the league, few are willing to make the little hustle plays, especially when their team has a double-digit lead.
Chances are, you're already thinking about a star who routinely takes plays off. Brunson is the same player on a nightly basis. Even when his shots aren't falling, he's still giving his best effort (he leads the league in charges drawn).
Then there's Immanuel Quickley, a budding young star coming off a season where he was the Sixth Man of the Year runner-up. His energy is contagious, even more so when he's all over the court.
New York isn't a lazy team. The Knicks are going to fight. It propelled them to the second round of the playoffs in 2023, and it's already been a theme in 2023-24. Jalen Brunson and Immanuel Quickley aren't the only two players who make hustle plays (shoutout to Mitchell Robinson), but in Friday's win, their offensive prowess wasn't the only thing that stood out.