Jalen Brunson is the best player in East ‘by far’: Kenny Smith

Jalen Brunson’s scoring runs are finally getting attention.

On Thursday’s “Inside the NBA,” analyst Kenny Smith praised Brunson after his 39-point performance after the Knicks’ 118-109 victory over the league-leading Celtics.

“The New York Knicks are the most surprising team in basketball to me right now,” he said. “They should be a No. 6 seed without Julius Randle. [Mitchell] Robinson missed the game, O.G. [Anunoby] Missed games. Brunson was the best basketball player in the Eastern Conference to date. ”

Jalen Brunson continued his red-hot game Thursday night, scoring 39 points in the Knicks’ win over the Celtics. AP

Brunson has been on a roll lately, leading the Knicks in scoring in each of the last five games and averaging a league-leading 39.4 points per game over that span.

The Knicks are 4-1 in those games, one game behind Milwaukee for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Milwaukee owns the tiebreaker against the Knicks, so the Knicks would have to win both of their remaining games and the Bucks would have to lose both of their final two games to take the No. 2 seed.

Kenny Smith is a huge fan of Jalen Brunson. @NicksMuse/X

Brunson’s hot streak goes back further than the last five games. In his last 10 games he is averaging 34 points and in his last 15 games he is averaging 33.8 points per game. Both numbers are tops in the league.

His 30.4 points per game since the All-Star break is second only to Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic’s 33.1 points, and Brunson has played six more games than Doncic since the break.

Brunson is averaging a league-leading 33.8 points per game over the past 15 games, trailing only Luka Doncic in points per game since the All-Star break. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After the Knicks won Thursday night in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated, OG Anunoby said Brunson should get the hardware for an outstanding season.

“He should win MVP,” Anunoby said.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau may not have said Brunson should win MVP, but he jokingly called for a recount after being informed that Brunson finished sixth in the MVP voters’ voting. did.

Brunson’s season average of 28.6 points per game ranks behind Bernard King (32.9, 1984-1985), Richie Guerin (29.5, 1961-62) and Carmelo Anthony (28.7, 2012-13). He is tied for fourth in Knicks history with Patrick Ewing. ).

Jalen Brunson has the Knicks in position for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Getty Images

Brunson would need 75 points in the next two games to move up to No. 3 on that list, which is certainly possible given his recent tear.