Jalen Brunson expected to be named All-Star for first time

Jalen Brunson will officially find out Thursday night, but it’s hard to understand that the Knicks’ breakout point guard won’t be named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career.

Brunson averaged career highs in points (26.8), assists (6.5) and 3-point percentage (42.2 percent) in his second season in New York, and was even better in the first two categories during his time with the Knicks. (28.9 and 7.7). In January, they jumped to 14-2.

Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers and Damian Lillard of the Bucks were chosen as the Eastern Conference’s starting backcourts last week in a vote of fans, NBA players and some members of the media.

Brunson also deserved to be selected after signing a four-year contract worth $104 million with the Knicks in free agency last season, but Julius Randle was chosen to represent the Knicks for the first time in three years.

Randle is averaging 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists, and should be in the spotlight again this year, but he is sidelined indefinitely due to a dislocated right shoulder.

Jalen Brunson, who drove to the basket during the Knicks’ win over the Jazz, is expected to be named an All-Star on Thursday. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley received a standing ovation on Jan. 20 when they returned to the Garden for the first time since being traded to the Raptors in late December.

Former Knicks forward Obi Toppin is expected to receive a similar welcome when he returns to MSG with the Pacers on Thursday night.

“I would say yes,” Tom Thibodeau said. “You’ll never know until you’re there, but he was a very popular player here. We loved having him there. I think there’s always an appreciation for the fact that you’re from the area. So, yeah.”

The Brooklyn native is averaging 11.2 points per game in 48 games (28 starts) for the Pacers, who recently acquired two-time All-Star power forward Pascal Siakam from the Raptors.

Quentin Grimes (knee sprain) was added to the Knicks’ injury report as questionable for Thursday’s game against the Pacers, along with OG Anunoby (elbow).

Haliburton (hamstring), Benedict Mathurin (toe) and TJ McConnell (illness) are questionable for Indy.

Haliburton, who has been on a minutes restriction and missed 10 of the past 11 games, had 13 points and 10 assists in 22 minutes before being ejected in the third quarter of Tuesday’s loss to Boston.