Why has Knicks star Jalen Brunson not been in the MVP conversation?

The second-year Knick has had a phenomenal season but hasn't been considered a high-level player, even though he has an MVP case.
Apr 7, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives against
Apr 7, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives against / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson's 2023-24 season has been nothing short of incredible. After his 2022-23 season breakout, the Villanova product is making his $104 million contract seem like a steal for the New York Knicks.

This season, Brunson is averaging 28.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists on 48-40-85 shooting for New York, currently the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

In a season that injuries and hidden potential could have defined, Brunson and the Knicks have overachieved, even with their circumstances.

Mitchell Robinson suffered an ankle injury in December that kept him out until recently. Robinson was the Knicks' defensive anchor, leading the team in blocked shots before his injury. All-Star Julius Randle, who had been out due to a dislocated shoulder, will miss the rest of the season. Randle was the second-leading scorer. OG Anunoby, the Knicks' prized possession after trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, was injured for an extended period due to an elbow injury.

For the majority of the season, the starting five for New York has not been on the court together. If you looked at the standings without any other context, you probably wouldn't have thought that was the case. It's largely been on the shoulders of JB.

Should Jalen Brunson be the MVP? It's hard to argue that he should actually win the award. Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are better and more valuable than JB. However, there is certainly a case for him to be in the conversation.

NBA.com's latest MVP ladder has him outside the top ten, which is extremely disrespectful. At the very least, Brunson should be in the top seven, and the following numbers back it up:

Jalen Brunson's notable Knicks statistics


League Ranking

28.4 points per game


2,103 total points


8.2 offensive win shares (OWS)


+5.6 box plus/minus (BPM)


5.1 value over replacement player (VORP)


32.5% usage rate


10 40-point games


33 30-point games


Mind you, he's been doing this without his second and third options for nearly half of the season. When Randle is out, the Knicks are 18-15. When Anunoby is out, the Knicks are 13-14. When Brunson is out, the Knicks are 1-4.

If everything I just said doesn't make number 11 one of the most valuable players in the NBA, I don't know what will. So why does the media continue to exclude him from MVP and All-NBA First Team talks?

Why do people continue to sleep on Knicks star Jalen Brunson?

Becky Hammon went on NBA Today to say that Jalen Brunson isn't a "1A player" on a championship team.

Candace Parker went on TNT to say he had a great first-round series in the 2023 playoffs, but "second round, not so much."

Maybe analysts hate the Knicks because they had previously been bad for so long, and they want to keep a particular narrative pinned to the franchise because it worked from the start of the millennium through the end of the 2010s. That narrative is that the Knicks are a poor franchise despite their high monetary value and big market.

Or perhaps it's because people don't like New York sports. The Yankees, Giants, Mets, and other teams in the New York/New Jersey area are some of the most hated teams in the country.

Maybe it's the passionate fans (who I'll admit can be a bit obnoxious, but that's what makes them the best in the world!), the players, or both.

Your guess is as good as mine.

Is it hatred? I don't think so. Everything I just mentioned culminates into one big bag of... let's go with "annoyance" toward New York. Many NBA fans and basketball analysts can sleep better at night when the Knicks aren't the talk of the town because New York will let you hear it when the Knicks are good.

Statistically, Brunson deserves to be in the conversation for MVP candidacy and All-NBA First Team, and the numbers back it up. To the rest of the basketball world, don't sleep on JB11.

Next. 20 People who turned their backs on the Knicks. 20 People who turned their backs on the Knicks. dark