The New York Knicks may have just seen their 2022-23 campaign come to a bitter end Friday evening, as they were down by a final score of 96-92 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat, but Jalen Brunson still seems overjoyed with how his inaugural season in the Big Apple played out.
During his post-game media session, the point guard discussed his first season with the organization as a whole, and, though he’s obviously disappointed they fell short of advancing to round three, the 26-year-old says that he’s “really happy to be a part of this organization.”
“New York has been amazing and the fans have been amazing. It’s been a really great experience for myself and my family. I’m already excited about next year. It’s going to be fun. We have a lot to prove to each other as teammates,” Jalen Brunson said. “This was a great year for us… Obviously, we didn’t end the season the way we wanted to but [we have to] keep working on our game, keep gaining confidence, as [players] and as teammates and as we move forward we just gotta keep sticking together like we did this year.”
After inking a four-year, $104 million deal in free agency last summer, Jalen Brunson went on to have himself a tremendous first season with the Knicks. Through 68 games played in 2022-23, the fifth-year guard went on to post impressive averages of 24.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 49.1% from the field and 41.5% from deep.
With him serving as their long-awaited franchise floor general New York went on to finish as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 47-35 and managed to win their first postseason series in a decade.
It seems that Brunson believes these successes are only the beginning of what could be to come for the Knicks.
Jalen Brunson Takes Ownership of Costly Game 6 Turnover
Despite his excellence throughout both the regular season and during the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Jalen Brunson took ownership for a crushing turnover late in Game 6 against the Heat that, ultimately, sealed the Knicks’ fate, and led to New York’s ouster from title contention.
“I like the way we fought these past couple of games. Down two with the ball [in my hands], I gotta give us a chance to even get a shot attempt, and that turnover is just unacceptable,” Brunson said. “So yeah, it’s tough.”
His crucial turnover aside, Jalen Brunson was one of the lone bright spots for the Knicks in Game 6 Logging, as he finished the night off with 41 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 63.6% from the field and 50.0% from deep.
Luka Doncic ‘Top Trade Target’ for Knicks This Summer
With their loss to the lower-seeded Heat in round two, it’s evident that while the Knicks are ready to compete for a regular slot in the NBA Playoffs, in order to become a legitimate contender, they still are a few pieces away.
That said, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley seems to be under the impression that New York would instantly catapult itself toward the top of the Eastern Conference totem pole with one particular offseason blockbuster, as he suggests that Leon Rose and company should look to heavily pursue a trade for Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic.
“Dallas torpedoed from the conference finals to the draft lottery in one year, getting zero return on its all-in gamble on Kyrie Irving along the way,” Buckley wrote. “The Mavs, by the way, could lose Irving this summer, and they have few young players on the roster, none of whom projects as anything close to a can’t-miss star…New York already knows he plays well with Brunson, and it would have one of the league’s top trios with those two and Randle. Even if it had to gut most of the roster around them, that’s a championship foundation to build upon.”
Doncic, a four-time All-Star with an established relationship with Knicks guard Jalen Brunson from his days in Dallas, is coming off yet another stupendous season where he posted averages of 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game while shooting 49.6% from the field.
Unfortunately, despite his effort the Mavericks still failed to qualify for the postseason and, rumor has it, there are now internal fears that their 24-year-old franchise centerpiece could request a trade this summer.
Zach Buckley believes the Knicks should be keeping close tabs on his availability.