Becky Hammon Backtracks on Knicks’ Jalen Brunson Hot Take, But With a Caveat

Knicks' Jalen Brunson is 1A star

Getty Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks takes a moment before the opening tipoff against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden.

Six-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA champion coach Becky Hammon backtracked on her earlier hot take on New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson that he is not a 1A star.

“He’s a tremendous player,” Hammon said on the “NBA Today” on February 27. “I love watching him play. I love watching the smaller guys play because they defy the odds, things that they’re doing out there they shouldn’t be doing. And Jalen is a perfect example. At the end of the day, they’re like, ‘Oh, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash’. I’m like [they were] MVPs of the league. They didn’t win a championship.

So yes, [Brunson] is your 1A [star] and all I was saying is that I don’t think you win a championship [with him]. It’s not that he’s not amazing. He’s amazing! So calm down, New York!”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added that the Knicks agree with Hammon’s opinion.

“That’s not a slight on Jalen Brunson,” Wojnarowski said.

On December 21, Hammon said Brunson was “too small” to become a 1A star.

“They’re not getting into that [title contender] tier,” Hammon said of the Knicks on the December 21 episode of the “NBA Today.” “They don’t have enough personnel. They don’t have the manpower that they need to hang with those guys.”

“I think you’re going to get a consistent team like they’ve been a pretty good team. 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 got to have a dude — a 1A dude and they’re missing that.”

Jalen Brunson Fires Back With All-Star Berth

Since Hammon’s December comment, Brunson continued to blossom into an All-Star point guard as he led the Knicks to a 14-2 record in January.

The Knicks have stayed afloat in February despite the avalanche of injuries to their key players with Brunson averaging 32.4 points on 46.8% shooting and 7.7 assists.

The diminutive guard is averaging a career-high 27.7 points this season. He has 23 30-plus scoring games, including a career-high 50 points against the Phoenix Suns on December 15 and four 40-point games.

Brunson’s emergence has fast-tracked the Knick’s timeline, emboldening them to swap their young players for established veterans in their bid to attract a superstar to join their ready-made team.

They traded for All-Defensive wing OG Anunoby in exchange for former No. 3 pick RJ Barrett and 6th Man of the Year finalist Immanuel Quickley. They also traded the once untouchable Quentin Grimes for a pair of veteran depth pieces in Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks.

The Knicks have as many as 8 tradable first-round picks this offseason to trade for another 1A star to pair with Brunson.

Jalen Brunson Is Questionable to Play vs. Pelicans

Brunson is questionable to play against the New Orleans Pelicans with neck cervical spasms, according to the NBA official injury report.

The Tuesday (February 27) matchup against the Pelicans is on the second night of a back-to-back homestand.

Joining him as questionable is center Isaiah Hartenstein with his nagging left Achilles soreness.

Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder), Anunoby (elbow surgery) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) remain out.

Meanwhile, Pelicans stars Zion Williamson (left foot contusion) and CJ McCollum (left ankle sprain) are also questionable to play.

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