Newly acquired New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson has been on a noticeable press run ever since signing a four-year contract worth $104 million to quarterback the Knicks offense.
In late July, Brunson appeared on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast, hosted by former NBA player JJ Redick and Tommy Alter. Alter asked Brunson if he had gotten a chance to do anything with other players on the roster.
“Not yet, I’ve been talking to a lot of people,” Brunson replied. “I reached out to the guys that played in the Summer League, and I would love to get back in the gym with them before the season starts. We’re having something planned. It’s key to hit the ground running. I don’t want to wait until training camp to start being vocal and somewhat of a leader.”
Brunson was the driving force during his days as the point guard for the Villanova Wildcats, helping lead the team to two national championships in 2016 and 2018. Playing alongside Luka Doncic on the Dallas Mavericks for the past four seasons, Brunson got to watch how Doncic operates as a leader.
“When I mean leader, I’m just trying to get guys on the same page,” Brunson told Alter and Reddick. “I love the fact that we can have a group of guys who are hard working and have good chemistry. If we can set that tone now, I think it will be great moving forward before training camp starts.”
Brunson & Toppin Building Chemistry
On August 8, the new Knicks point guard teamed up with Julius Randle and Obi Toppin at a Nike Pro City playoff game. Though the trio would end up losing the game by 13 points, it gave Brunson a chance to get some familiarity with his new teammates.
The offseason work hasn’t stopped between Brunson and Toppin. The pair was seen playing pickup together August 17 during a Black-Ops Basketball Run at the Life Time Sky Gym in Manhattan.
Famous NBA trainer Chris Brickley, owner of Black-Ops Basketball, tweeted that he liked what he saw between Brunson and Toppin.
In the clip, Brunson creates offense for himself by using his craftiness and footwork while also finding Toppin, hitting the power forward with alley-oop and no-look passes. Toppin’s athleticism also was on full display in the clip.
Date Set for Brunson’s Return Against Dallas
When the NBA schedule was released August 17, it became clear when Brunson would make his return to Dallas.
The Knicks will go against the Mavericks at American Airlines Center on December 27, the first time that the Knicks point guard will go up against the team that selected him in the second round of the 2018 draft.
Brunson is coming off a career year last season, averaging 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists, all statistical highs for him. Brunson averaged 21.6 points in the playoffs, helping lead his former team to the Western Conference finals.
The Mavericks had an opportunity to extend Brunson last season but never gave him an offer. With the Knicks signing him to a valuable contract, Brunson should have his targets set on going up against the Mavericks at the end of the year.