Knicks: Jalen Brunson’s case for MVP

NBA: New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks G Jalen Brunson has enjoyed a fantastic season. While his legend has grown to extreme measures in New York, he has now put himself in the conversation as a dark horse MVP candidate.

Brunson is currently in the midst of a frantic heater

Brunson has entered superstar status this season, the 27-year old’s 28.6 points per game is 4th in the NBA, and has now put himself in consideration for First-Team All-NBA. Brunson is currently in the midst of possibly the best stretch of basketball in his career to this point. Over his last eight games, Brunson is averaging:

38.5 PPG
8.1 APG
3.4 RPG
62.4% TS

This stretch includes three games of 40 or more points, capped by a career-high 61 points against the San Antonio Spurs. After back to back 40-point games, Brunson narrowly missed reaching three consecutive 40-point games last night, dropping 39 points against the Boston Celtics. Had Brunson reached the feat, he would’ve been just the third Knicks in history to reach 40 points or more in three straight games.

Brunson has carried the shorthanded Knicks through the storm

Brunson has been asked to take on otherworldly amounts of usage due to injuries to OG Anunoby and Julius Randle. Anunoby has since returned to the court, however Randle’s injury, which took place on January 27th, ended his season. Since Randle’s injury, Brunson has delivered in keeping the Knicks competitive, averaging 31.3 points per game, converting 48.2% of his field goals and 37.1% of his three-pointers in 31 games with Randle on the shelf.

Knicks have a real chance at the 2 seed

Additionally, largely due to Brunson’s heroics throughout the season, the Knicks are in sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 48-32, New York also has a realistic chance to finish in second place with two games remaining in the regular season, sitting just one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the standings.

While Brunson may not win the MVP award or even be a finalist, his performance this season should not go unnoticed. He has essentially been asked to carry the Knicks through the slog of injuries the team has faced to multiple key players, and despite all odds, Brunson has delivered. The former Villanova product has certainly earned his respect around the league, going from a player that critics called overpaid to a player that can now be an MVP finalist in the span of just two years.

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