There will be more pressure on Jalen Brunson to deliver after the New York Knicks missed out on Donovan Mitchell.
Brunson remained as the Knicks’ biggest catch in the offseason as the Utah Jazz decided to send Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead.
Without Mitchell, Brunson is expected to star in the Knicks’ backcourt.
Living much of his childhood around the Knicks during his father’s stint with the team in the late 90s and around the current executives (Leon Rose and William Wesley) and coach Tom Thibodeau, Brunson is well aware of the pressure to win at The Mecca.
“The [Knicks] fans, they deserve a lot. They’re a die-hard fanbase. I’ve seen that for a very long time. I think, for me, the most important thing is to kind of just connect, give back, obviously play well, and try to help the team win games.”Jalen Brunson via USA Today
Brunson is joining a team that went 37-45 last season, missing the play-in tournament by six games. He was the Knicks’ primary offseason target, which was on full display from the moment their top executives sat courtside at the opener of the Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz first-round series, culminating in a series of trades that opened up the cap space to pursue him.
Curiously, Brunson outplayed Mitchell in that series, cementing his claim as last season’s breakout star.
Now the Garden spotlight will be on Brunson.
One of the appeals of moving to New York is the opportunity to become an All-Star and run his own team, not just a sidekick to Luka Doncic or whoever else. So there must have been a sense of relief that Mitchell was traded elsewhere.
He rose from a second-round pick to the second-best player of a Mavericks team that reached the Western Conference Finals through sheer hard work.
A trait embedded in the fabric of New York City.
“But if can connect with the fanbase, if I can do things to kind of show them that: “Hey, I’m a hard-working guy. I’ll do whatever it takes to win. I’m never going to quit, [show] characteristics that kind of fit a New York person, that they work hard and never going to quit, they’re going to grind. I think that’s the starting point.”Jalen Brunson via USA Today
The Knicks need to start somewhere, and they’re hoping Brunson can get them closer to the finish line.
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