He instantly slotted in as the starting point guard in New York, and in the process of doing so he filled a hole that has been vacant for years now. The early returns have been very solid, but it hasn’t translated into a better on court product so far as the Knicks find themselves at 6-6.
The signing was still worth it because he’s on a decent contract for the next four seasons, and with the salary cap going up in the years to come, this could end up being a very good deal as time goes on.
An NBA executive speaking to Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney believes the same thing, and said the Knicks are getting just what they paid for with him.
Knicks Made a Good Signing
The Knicks made a splash to open up free agency, but it looks to have paid off for them so far. While there was some hesitation about whether or not it was good for the Knicks to get him, that doubt was quickly erased once the season began.
Through these 12 games, Brunson is averaging a career high of 19.8 points per game to go along with 6.8 assists, and the exec believe he’s worth every dime.
“I think they are getting what they paid for there,” the exec told Deveney. “He has been good offensively, effective, moving the ball, he has not been overwhelmed by having a bigger role.”
With Dallas, Brunson was effectively the co-star next to Luka Doncic, but he proved he was ready to shoulder a heavier workload, and he showed he can do just that.
Not Everything is Perfect
The executive did point out some flaws with Brunson’s game, however, but it’s something anybody could have expected.
“He has struggled on defense, though, which you knew would happen because of his size,” the exec continued. “But if you are talking about point guards, where do you rank him? Maybe 12th, 13th in the league? And he is about 14 or 15 in terms of what he is being paid as a point guard. There is some value there. He might be a bargain by the end of the contract, though.”
Brunson is in a loaded conference for guards, so him making an All-Star might be unlikely throughout his tenure in New York. Names like Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Kyrie Irving are all potential All-Stars, and the list goes even deeper than that.
This is where adding another star to the Knicks would help because it would allow Brunson’s playmaking to shine even more. The Knicks have the assets to pull off a huge deal, but there’s no guarantee they can make it happen. After whiffing on Donovan Mitchell, there’s no telling who will become available in the trade market next.
They have a nice building block in Brunson, but it’s clear they’ll need to add more to compete for a championship, or even a playoff spot in the early going.