The New York Knicks carry championship expectations for the 2023-24 NBA season, but one former WNBA great and current analyst does not believe the Knicks have a frontman who can make those implications a reality.
Is Hammon’s Criticism of Knicks’ Brunson Historically Backed?
Becky Hammon gave a bold take on NBA Today’s most recent broadcast, asserting that Jalen Brunson is not good enough to lead the team to the Finals, per Andrew Battifarano of the New York Post:
“They don’t have enough personnel, they don’t have the manpower that they need to hang with those guys,” Hammon said. “They’re, they’re well-coached, they’re going to be on their defensive game, but at the end of the day, they don’t have a dude. You gotta have a dude, you gotta have a 1A dude and they’re missing that at the end of the day if we’re just getting down to brass tacks.”
Hammon took a direct dig at Jalen Brunson while also claiming that Golden State Warriors former MVP Stephen Curry is the only small guard that can be the number one option on a championship squad.
Brunson has seen tremendous improvement since his entry into the league and has built himself into a fringe All-Star caliber player. Though he is one of only 15 players averaging 25 or more points per game this year, Brunson failed to propel the Knicks any further than the second round of the 2023 playoffs.
He’s led the Knicks thus far with Julius Randle coming out of an early season funk, but neither are talked about in MVP discussions nor have tasted NBA Finals action, though Brunson did help Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks wage an unexpected run to the 2022 Western Conference Finals.
Brunson is not the first point guard to draw comparisons to Curry and won’t be the last. Though, in the NBA’s 76-year history, Curry, Detroit Pistons Hall-of-Famer Isiah Thomas, and Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy are the only three point guards 6-3 or under that have been frontmen on title-winning teams.
Brunson and the Knicks are Yet to Triumph Over the Best in the East
The Knicks (17-11) have not shown themselves to be on the same level as the top seeds in the East, as they’ve gone 0-3 against the conference-leading Celtics and 0-2 against the Milwaukee Bucks thus far.
Brunson has 54 more games to continue elevating his profile as the Knicks strive for playoff seeding and will have the opportunity to make Hammon regret her words with a deeper run in the postseason this time around.