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Why Jalen Brunson is the True MVP

Jalen Brunson is standing out as one of the best players in the playoffs.

By the true definition of the term Most Valuable Player, arguably, no one has been more valuable to their team than Jalen Brunson has for the New York Knicks. Think of the adversity the Knicks have overcome to finish with 50 wins and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Let alone overcome the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. Now Brunson’s leading his team to the first win against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. While  Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic will command the most MVP votes for the regular season, and deservedly so. By the true definition, Brunson is the true MVP, certainly in the playoffs.

Why Jalen Brunson is the True MVP

I felt that Brunson would have a career year going into this season. This has proven to be spot-on, but this season is still incredible. Brunson finished fourth in the NBA scoring 28.7 points per game. Finishing with 6.7 assists and 48% from the field.

Far beyond the scoring, Brunson’s overcome All-Star Julius Randle missing the rest of the season. As well as overcoming OG Anunoby missing 27 games after his arrival by trade in December.

Last season’s starting Center Mitchell Robinson missed most of the regular season due to injury and is now most likely out the rest of the way with a stress injury to his ankle. If all this wasn’t enough, now Bojan Bogdanovic is missing the rest of the year with a foot injury.

Coach Tom Thibodeau’s been riding with a short seven-man rotation without anyone to backup Brunson’s scoring and playmaking on the bench, apart from Miles McBride who is more of an off-guard. This has given Brunson an unreal workload that he has to handle. Not only has he handled it, but he’s been making history on a nightly basis in the playoffs.

Different Supporting Casts

The Celtics are so deep and have talents such as Kristaps Porzingis, Jaylen Brown, and Jrue Holiday to support Jayson Tatum. Denver is one of the more well-rounded teams in the league including an elite co-star in Jamal Murray. The Mavs have an elite backcourt with Luka and Kyrie Irving. The Timberwolves have an elite defense around young superstar Anthony Edwards. The Knicks? In terms of ball-handling playmaking and scoring, it’s Brunson’s show. A show fit for Broadway.

No one can do it alone, Anunoby’s elite defense and overall play on both ends are huge. Donte DiVincenzo is in my view the Most Improved Player in the league this year after breaking the franchise 3-point record. He’s also incredibly clutch. Josh Hart is relentless and the beating heart of the team.

Yet Brunson’s the true MVP. Whether it’s double teams or full-court press, he still drops 35. No matter what teams throw at him, he delivers every night. Teams know they have to stop Brunson to stop the Knicks, yet he’s still unguardable. Even if he starts quiet, he learns about the defense and the coverages, then kills teams by the end.

Brunson Makes History in Game 1

Brunson is now the first player in NBA history to score 39+ points, shooting over 45% in 5 straight playoff games, this has never been done before!

He’s now scored 40 points or more in 4 straight playoff games, not done since Michael Jordan. Furthermore, as a matter of reference, two-time Champion Kawhi Leonard has five 40-point playoff games in his entire career. Brunson’s likely to match or surpass that in this series alone.

According to Brian Windhorst’s ESPN article, he’s made some more history after Game 1: His scoring or assisting on 321 points in his last five games is the second most all-time over a five-game span.

Plus his 6 assists Monday night, made him the first player to ever have 40 points and 5 plus assists in four straight playoff games.

Brunson was simply unguardable down the stretch in Game 1. Scoring 21 points in the 4th quarter alone. Finding space in a crowded paint with his phenomenal footwork to get his shot off he made countless clutch bucket after clutch bucket to help his Knicks to a comeback win. Notably, Brunson has more points than anyone else in the playoffs this year.

Brunson is Under-appreciated Nationally

Laughably, ESPN had a rankings article this week where they ranked the top 20 Most Valuable Players of the Playoffs so far. Brunson was ranked 15th. Despite all these aforementioned records he’s broken, and leading the playoffs in points scored, he was ranked as low as 15th. Stephen A Smith has largely downplayed his achievements. Chris Broussard said he isn’t a superstar yet, and we know Becky Hammon infamously said he was ‘not that dude.’  The playoffs have confirmed – he very much is THAT dude.

Brunson was also snubbed as an All-Star starter despite being top five in scoring and missed out on an Olympics spot for Team USA.

It’s time for Brunson to get the attention he deserves nationally, as he’s the true MVP of the playoffs.

Despite the doubters, he comes back and works harder and harder while remaining completely humble. The City of New York has embraced him and the indomitable spirit of this Knicks franchise. He never feels slighted, he just works harder to be even better. Nor does he seek the limelight or his deserved praise. He remains laser-focused on winning and determined to lead his team to a Conference Finals. Perhaps then he’ll start to get the praise he deserves. Local fans who see him play every day, would agree – Brunson’s the true MVP.


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