Knicks: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says ‘There’s a reason the fans, the media, and the players all voted for Haliburton over Brunson’

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets
Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson made a great case to represent the New York Knicks as a 2024 NBA All-Star starter, but was Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton more deserving?

Knicks: Jalen Brunson beat out of ASG starting nod by Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton and Bucks’ Damian Lillard

Per Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post, as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith sees it, the Knicks point guard is a definite shoo-in for his outstanding play in the first half of the season, but for all that, the lifelong Knicks fan sided with Haliburton’s selection, saying this on NBA Today:

“Jalen Brunson is a star and deserves all the credit in the world, but I’m sorry,” Smith said. “There’s a reason the fans, the media, and the players all voted for Haliburton over Brunson.”

Starters were announced on the latest edition of Inside the NBA last week, and all three voting groups gave Haliburton and Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard the edge over Brunson.

Haliburton’s Style of Play May Have Won Over the Voters

Haliburton has been a fan favorite since entering the league back in 2020 out of Iowa State. As he’s evolved his game, he has become the NBA’s best distributor, outpacing the Association with 12.6 assists while keeping his turnovers at 2.5 per game.

The All-Star Game is all about flash, especially in today’s day and age, and the fact that Haliburton runs the fastest show on the NBA hardwood, his flashy passes and highlight plays only added to his allure with the fans and his favor with the players.

Brunson’s High Scoring Was Not Enough to Earn Him a Place in the Starting Five

Brunson brings a different element to the court, but not one that is any less effective, particularly from a scoring perspective. Ranking No. 12 in scoring at 26.6 PPG, Brunson has consistently come through for the Knicks since opening night.

After carrying the Knicks through a seesaw opening stretch of the 2023-24 campaign, Brunson has been the major catalyst for their most recent 12-2 record in their last 14 games. With a 50-point masterclass, three 40-point outings and an additional 13 games with 30-plus points, Brunson’s bucket getting has been put on full display.

Will Brunson’s Full Body of Work and Knicks’ Winning Ways Earn Him a Spot as an All-Star Reserve?

The Villanova product may not measure up to Haliburton in terms of speed or volume of assists, but his brand of basketball has been conducive to winning. However, the Knicks’ (29-17) three-game lead over the Pacers (26-20) was not enough to give him the edge.

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