The New York Knicks as a whole may have played their last lick of NBA action back in early May, but the franchise has seen several of their members participating in meaningful on-court action throughout this summer what with the activity of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
From RJ Barrett suiting up for Team Canada to Jalen Brunson leading the backcourt for Team USA, representatives of the orange and blue can be found all throughout the illustrious tournament, though one, in particular, has had his name praised as of late by his peers.
Following the United States’ August 28 drubbing of Team Greece, Brunson was asked by a reporter what it’s like watching his Knicks teammate Josh Hart play such a pivotal role off the bench for their country’s World Cup club. In response, the point guard couldn’t help but boast about the wing both for his on-court and off-court attributes.
“Ever since I’ve known Josh, since the day we met…he’s been the same player,” Brunson said. “He’s had the same mindset since the day I met him. He’s a hard-working guy. [He] has the ability to do things on the court that every NBA player does, but he takes pride in always doing the little things on a nightly basis. He brings that toughness, that effort, and he’s just a different man. He goes out there, he’s relentless and he’s been doing that since the day I met him.”
Brunson and Hart have known each other quite well for the better part of the past decade, as the two were teammates during their collegiate days at Villanova (2015-2017), winning an NCAA Championship in 2016.
They both are now members of the Knicks, where the wing recently penned a lucrative $81 million extension to remain with the franchise through the 2027-28 season.
Steve Kerr Has High Praise for Knicks Wing Josh Hart
Brunson isn’t the only member of Team USA to be singing the praises of Hart this summer, as head coach Steve Kerr would add onto the point guard’s words during the post-game presser by labeling the Knicks wing as “just a winner.”
“People ask ‘what position does he play?’ He plays winner,” Kerr said. “He gets loose balls, he guards anybody. At one point, [Erik Spoelstra] turned to me and said ‘Some people get 50/50 balls [but] he gets the 30/70 balls.’ He just makes these plays with his effort and with his physicality and his toughness but also his skill.”
Despite measuring in at just 6-foot-4, Hart has established himself as one of the premier rebounding guards in the NBA today and, since 2020-21, he has averaged a whopping 7.7 boards per night.
During the United States’ latest bout against Team Greece the 28-year-old managed to bring down a game-high 11 rebounds in their 109-81 victory.
Knicks Were ‘Close’ to Snagging Former NBA Champion
This summer, the Knicks were reported as having an interest in bringing on former NBA Champion and long-tenured Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo before ultimately signing their splash acquisition, Donte DiVincenzo.
Though the level of said interest is not all that known by the public, according to the 31-year-old, he came rather close to striking a deal with the organization.
“Obviously, Giannis is my brother, and obviously, I love Milwaukee. I love Milwaukee. But at the same time… I want to play. You always want to play and feel important,” Antetokounmpo said.
Antetokounmpo was selected 51 overall back in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Knicks and spent his rookie season revolving in and out of the lineup for the club’s G League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks.
Antetokounmpo boasts career averages of 2.7 points and 1.8 rebounds across 164 games played.