The New York Knicks took care of business in their preseason opener on October 4, downing the Detroit Pistons to the tune of 117 to 96.
While the night marked the first in-game action of the 2022-23 campaign for the club, for Jalen Brunson it served as the first game of his Knicks career, as the guard inked a four-year, $104 million deal with the franchise during this summer’s free agency period.
Tabbed as the top-billed available player at his respective position, New York brought on the 26-year-old to serve as a much-needed answer to their point guard woes that have unfortunately plagued them for the better part of the past two decades.
Though it may have only been one preseason game, it seems as though head coach Tom Thibodeau is already elated with the addition of Brunson, as he couldn’t help but praise the fifth-year veteran for his efforts during the team’s post-game press conference.
“I loved the way he can control and manage the game,” Thibodeau told reporters about Brunson. “To me, that’s the number one function of a point guard.”
In just shy of 20 minutes played, Brunson finished as the second-leading scorer of the game with 16 points, trailing only RJ Barrett’s 21. On top of this, the guard managed to dish out 5 assists while shooting at an incredibly efficient 77.8% from the floor and 50% from deep.
Thibodeau Praises Knicks’ Big-Three
Along with their newly acquired point guard, during the team’s post-game press conference Thibodeau spoke incredibly high about the Knicks’ big three of Brunson, Barrett, and Randle, stating that he was impressed with how well they managed to play off each other during the preseason opener.
“[Brunson] doesn’t get sped up, he doesn’t get rattled,” Thibodeau told reporters. “Julius [in] the third quarter was terrific. So I think it’s a calming influence. I think RJ played a really good game. But they all played off each other really well.”
Through three-quarters of action, the trio combined for 52 points, 11 assists, and 12 rebounds whilst shooting 64% from the field and 54% from distance.
Barrett Sounds Off on McBride
While RJ Barrett was arguably the most impressive player on the floor during New York’s October 4 preseason exhibition against the Pistons, he couldn’t help but praise the performance of the team’s sophomore guard, Miles McBride, for his efforts, particularly for what he managed to accomplish on the defensive side of the ball.
“He’s a pest. You saw it out there today,” Barrett told reporters. “I don’t know how many steals he had today. Six? That’s what he does, man.”
Though McBride didn’t see a lick of action in the first quarter, once he checked into the ball game at the 9:27 mark in the second period, it didn’t take long for him to make his presence felt on the floor.
Within just seconds of entering the contest, the 22-year-old snatched his first of what would wind up being a half-dozen steals on the night.
Seeing a total of 22:32 minutes played, McBride ended up stuffing the stat sheet with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 steals, and a block.
Though his 42.9% shooting clip and 0-for-3 finish from distance were not all that impressive, his efforts on the defensive end were certainly captivating enough to catch the eye New York’s centerpiece.