Knicks’ Jalen Brunson listed an honorable mention on NBA’s In-Season Tournament MVP Ladder

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives to the basket against Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks secured an important win over the Miami Heat last Friday night, improving them to 2-1 in In-Season Tournament play. Led by Jalen Brunson, the star point guard has entered the tournament MVP conversation.

Knicks: Jalen Brunson Putting Together High-Scoring Games in In-Season Tourney

Brunson did not crack NBA.com’s top-five, released by Matthew Peterson, but was named among five other honorable mentions. Peterson had this to say briefly about Brunson’s positioning:

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks: Led New York’s dramatic and much-needed comeback win over Miami. The Knicks’ chance to advance will come down to the final games of Group Play.”

Brunson went off for 45 points and five rebounds in his tournament debut. The Knicks wound up losing 110-105 to the Milwaukee Bucks, but Brunson carried the Knicks even without substantial contributions from his supporting cast.

Brunson led the Knicks to a bounce-back 120-99 win over the Washington Wizards in their second tournament outing behind 32 points, seven rebounds, and a 7-0 assist-turnover ratio on 60 percent shooting from beyond the arc. This past Friday, Brunson came back down to earth but still scored an impressive 24 points on 10-16 shooting from the field.

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Where Brunson Stacks Up With the Rest of the League’s Standout Performers

The Knicks owe much of their success to the Villanova product, as he’s overcome a brief efficiency slump to start the season and has led their scoring attack.

The MVP Ladder consists of a top-five of Tyrese Haliburton (No. 1, Indiana Pacers), LeBron James (No. 2, Los Angeles Lakers), Damian Lillard (No.3, Milwaukee Bucks), Domantas Sabonis (No. 4, Sacramento Kings) and Devin Booker (No. 5, Phoenix Suns). Brunson came behind De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings) and Alperen Sengun (Houston Rockets) in the honorable mentions list.

The Knicks play their final group stage game against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The Hornets are a struggling franchise finding their footing again with a re-assembled core. Brunson will be matched up against former All-Star LaMelo Ball and can lead the Knicks to the knockout rounds, which would help his case further.