The New York Knicks had themselves a promising 2022-23 season that came with plenty of hope. Finishing with a 47-35 record, the Knicks won over 45 games and made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time since the 2012-13 season, illustrating a lot of growth and progress in the right areas.
Although the success this team achieved last season was reflected in multiple players, a handful of the Knicks’ key stars took some big steps in the right direction, from not only Julius Randle but also new point guard, Jalen Brunson.
Prior to the start of last season, Brunson came with plenty of criticism from experts and fans alike after he signed a four-year deal worth $104 million. And seeing his new contract was predominantly based on what he did over the 2021-22 playoffs with the Dallas Mavericks without point guard Luka Doncic wasn’t enough for many to justify his new salary.
Despite that reality, Brunson began the season with a point to prove and delivered from start to finish. Playing in the Mecca that is Madison Square Garden is tough to begin with, considering the spotlight and demand for winning ways from a passionate yet at times critical fanbase.
But Brunson didn’t waver, producing a career performance in his fifth year in the league while delivering on the scoring/playmaking role the Knicks have been trying to fill for quite some time. In 68 games played (35.0 minutes per game), Brunson scored a career-high 24.0 points on 49.1% shooting from the field while averaging 6.2 assists (also a career-high) and 3.5 rebounds.
However, despite all his success a season ago, does he have it in him to produce at this level again, if not higher? Here’s our take on the kind of season we think Brunson will have in 2023-24.
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Jalen Brunson New York Knicks Year 2 Take
Carryover progress from season to season is important, especially for a young talent looking to reach their full potential. And as Brunson enters what will be another big season, particularly after showing how he can play, he’s facing quite the tall task over the 2023-24 campaign as he aims to prove to everyone that his best is yet to come.
But there’s good reason to believe that what Brunson was able to produce last season was only the beginning of his superstar transformation. Although there are multiple indicators that point towards that reality, one of the biggest is his remarkable consistency with his scoring production and ability to perform under pressure, something we saw over the regular season but also in the playoffs as well.
In 11 playoff games, Brunson scored 27.8 points per game on 47.4% shooting from the field to go with an average of 5.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds, all of which were playoff career highs. In fact, Brunson played a huge role in the Knicks 4-1 series win over the Cavaliers in Round 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, scoring 27 points in Game 1 followed by 29 points in Game 4.
Fast forward to the FIBA Basketball World Cup taking place right now, Brunson was not only selected for the team but also has produced efficient results with his scoring and playmaking. In three games played so far (20.0 minutes per game), Brunson has scored 11 points per game on 68.4% shooting from the field to go with 3.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds. Though it doesn’t seem like a lot on paper, he’s also doing this in just 20 minutes per game on a stacked USA squad.
To cap it off, Brunson is not only entering his prime at 26 but is finally a part of a system in New York that caters to his strengths as well. Although Brunson has now set a new bar for what the team and fanbase expect from him, we still think Brunson’s game will continue to develop into something special despite the added pressure. Here’s the improved stat line we’re predicting he will finish with over the 2023-24 regular season.
2023-24 Jalen Brunson Stat Line Prediction
- 74 GP (74 GS), 36.1 MPG, 25.2 PTS, 7.2 AST, 2.8 TRB, 1.0 STL