Knicks’ Jalen Brunson receives All-Star votes from JJ Redick’s kids

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
Oct 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts after making a three point basket during the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson has been instrumental in the New York Knicks‘ rise as the hottest team in the NBA today.

With the NBA All-Star fan voting opening last Tuesday, Brunson is gaining some steam to notch his first All-Star berth. Among his fans are ESPN analyst JJ Redicks’ kids, Knox and Kai.

Redick, who will team up with Ryan Ruocco and Cassidy Hubarth for the Christmas Day showdown between the Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers for ESPN, is thrilled to see Brunson prove his doubters wrong.

“I love Jalen (Brunson), and he’s quickly gone from people thinking he’s overpaid to he’s actually very underpaid. 

JJ Redick told Empire Sports Media on ESPN Conference Call

Brunson signed a $104 million, four-year deal to join the Knicks last summer. After the Knicks missed out on adding three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell, the pressure went a notch higher for Brunson to deliver.

So far, he’s exceeded expectations carrying the Knicks to an 18-13 record after a shaky start. His leadership and durability have stood out in his first season in New York.

Entering Wednesday’s matchup against the struggling Toronto Raptors, Brunson is averaging a career-high 20.8 points and 6.2 assists. His 4.6-point average in the clutch ranks third among players who have played a minimum of 10 games, just behind Chicago Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan’s (5.1) and Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard (5.0).

After Tuesday’s games, Brunson is no. 4 in scoring and no. 6 in assists among all point guards in the Eastern Conference.

Redick, the 15-year NBA veteran, turned TV analyst and podcaster, puts Brunson in the second tier of All-Star candidates in the bunched-up Eastern Conference.

“I think there are eight guys in the East that I would expect to be locked [as All-Stars], barring something unforeseen [circumstances]. And then there’s probably another six or seven guys [below them]. And Jalen (Brunson) is in that group where he’s got a legitimate chance as long as the Knicks are winning and sort of in that [number] five to six to seven spot.

He definitely could be an All-Star. Fan voting started [Tuesday]. My kids have spent a lot of time voting on that. They did it yesterday. They did it again today. Jalen got some votes from them. So that’s good.”

JJ Redick told Empire Sports Media on ESPN Conference Call

Cementing Brunson’s All-Star bid this season is his availability. At a time when load management has become the norm for stars, Brunson refused to sit out a game despite being banged up.

He was tagged with questionable status twice, but on both occasions, he shook it off and played significant minutes. The latest came in his hometown Chicago last week after suffering a contused right foot in their previous win over the Sacramento Kings last Dec. 4.

Brunson emerged from a walking boot to drop 30 points and bail the Knicks out of trouble in an overtime win over the Bulls, the first of a two-game sweep.

During the Knicks’ eight-game win streak, Brunson averaged 20.4 points, 5.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals while shooting a ridiculous 48.6 percent of his 3s. What’s more, he’s had a plus-positive net rating in each of those eight wins.

Brunson, a two-time NCAA champion and one-time state champion in high school, has brought his winning mentality to the Knicks and dramatically shifted their culture.

A true sign of an All-Star player.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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