Following the New York Knicks‘ trade for OG Anunoby which shipped RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors in exchange, Jalen Brunson has seen a hefty amount of minutes in their two games since.
According to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, Brunson’s 81 minutes played over the course of that stretch may be a cause for concern, though the point guard had this to say about the performance of the team as a result:
“It’s a credit to my teammates. They’re finding a way to put the ball through the hoop,” Brunson said in his walk-off interview. “All the credit goes to them. I’m just out there running around.”
Knicks: The Amount of Running Jalen Brunson Does on the Court Outpaces The Rest of the League
Though only two games, Brunson has accrued much mileage on his body. Quickley’s absence has left backup duties to Malachi Flynn and Miles McBride, neither of which are high-level scorers off the bench.
On the season, Brunson is second behind only Philadelphia 76ers star Tyrese Maxey for the most distance traveled per game at 1.59 miles per contest. That number is staggering, especially considering the patience that Brunson shows in an offense heavily predicated around half-court sets.
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Can Brunson Keep Up His All-Star Level of Play in Fewer Minutes and Less Time on the Ball?
While his numbers have increased in accordance with his playing time, and the Knicks are winning along with it, Brunson’s workload could lead to injury if not reduced.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has been known to overexert his players in previous stints with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s dialed back since taking over for the Knicks, but with a slightly thinner roster has come a slight decrease in minutes distribution at the point guard spot.
The 19-15 Knicks are battling for postseason positioning in a tight Eastern Conference. Brunson will be heavily relied upon to lead the Knicks for the rest of the season, with or without the front office pulling off a blockbuster trade for a superstar. Doing so in under 40 minutes a night will keep his body from potentially breaking down along the way.