Brunson was able to get a block on Malcolm Brogdon to seal the win, and he was making very important baskets all game long. That led to NBA on TNT host Charles Barkley to ask if there’s been a better signing in the past 20 years.
“Hey Kenny, has there been a better free agent in the last 20 years than Brunson?” he asked his co-host Kenny Smith.
Smith quickly shot back with answers like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but Barkley said those names don’t count. Obviously James and Durant are better answers than Brunson, especially since those players both led their respective teams to championships with the teams they signed with, but Brunson has certainly had a big impact for the Knicks.
The Knicks have had a big hole at point guard for years now, and Brunson was able to plug it and provide in a big way. While he’s certainly not the best free agency signing this millennium, his performance for the Knicks has not gone unnoticed.
Brunson Worth Every Penny
The loss of a second round pick in 2025 was more than worth it for the Knicks as Brunson has been shining for them. Coming from the Mavericks where he was viewed more as a co-star to Luka Doncic, Brunson has settled into the role as lead playmaker with the Knicks, and his stats are up across the board because of it.
Brunson’s points per game are up to 22.4 on the season, and he’s making a strong case for being named an All-Star reserve. He’s a big part of why the Knicks find themselves at 27-23 this season despite not having many expectations coming into the year. Another huge reason the Knicks find themselves with a winning record this deep into the season is Randle’s reemergence.
Julius Randle All-Star?
The last time the Knicks made the playoffs, they have home court advantage in the first round thanks to the All-NBA heroics of Randle. The year after was a big slump for the star, and the Knicks missed the playoffs. Now he finds himself alongside Brunson and he’s having another strong year.
Randle is averaging a career-high in points and rebounds so far this season, so an All-Star nod is certainly not out of the picture for him if it keeps up. His assists are down from the past two seasons as he’s playing a smaller playmaking role, but it looks like that is benefiting him. A $117 million contract extension kicked in this season for the forward, so fans have to be happy he’s found his form again.
With all that said, the Knicks still aren’t considered to be a lock for the playoffs, and a trade could be what they need to get over the hump. They’ve been linked to a pair of Raptors stars recently, and there are other names they can target. As it stands, New York has Cam Reddish, Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose as strong candidates for trades as none of them are in the active rotation.
They will need to find a way to make those players appealing in a trade, and that’s proven to be easier said than done so far.