Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Knicks Superstar Snubbed from All-NBA First Team

Jalen Brunson was controversially left off the All-NBA first team.

All-NBA teams are generally fairly straightforward. Everybody knows the players that make it, but there’s usually a player or two who were “misplaced” according to the fans. Despite his standout performance throughout the season, Jalen Brunson was left off the All-NBA First Team, with the spot going to Jayson Tatum instead.

Brunson’s importance to the Knicks cannot be overstated. As the team’s point guard and leader, he orchestrated the offense with precision and poise, guiding the Knicks to one of their best seasons in recent memory. His ability to control the game tempo, coupled with his scoring prowess made him indispensable to the team’s success. Finishing fifth in MVP voting, Brunson proved himself as one of the elite players in the league. His stats speak volumes—averaging career highs in points, assists, and rebounds. Night after night, he demonstrated his clutch performance, consistently stepping up when the team needed him most. Whether it was sinking a game-winning shot or making a crucial defensive play, Brunson’s impact was undeniable.

Knicks Superstar Snubbed from All-NBA First Team

It is a head-scratching decision to put Taum over Brunson for a first-team spot. From what fans hear from voters, individual numbers matter far more than team success for All-NBA teams. Team success matters far more for the MVP award. The MVP award is predicated on a player’s value to his team. A player’s value can only be determined by their team impact, and as a result, the amount of games they won.

So how does one place Tatum over Brunson?

Jayson Tatum vs. Jalen Brunson

Brunson averaged more points and assists than Tatum. Tatum had Brunson beat in rebounds and all the defensive statistics. Tatum had an effective field-goal percentage of 55.3%, while Brunson’s was 54.3%. They both had the same offensive rating when they were on the court, but Tatum had a higher net rating because of his defensive prowess. Brunson had a higher PER than Tatum, an all-in-one metric that is heavily trusted around the league.

Brunson did all of this on one of the highest usage rates in the league. His usage rate for the season was 31.1, compared to 29.6 for Tatum. That doesn’t seem like a huge difference. But, circumstances make a difference. After the Knicks lost OG Anunoby and Julius Randle to injury, Brunson had a league-high usage rate of 35.6 compared to Tatum’s 29.9 He was their offensive engine. He had the ball in his hands for 9.2 minutes a night compared to Tatum’s 5.0. The biggest reason for this season to have been as productive as it was was Brunson’s nightly ability to hang 30 on every team in the league. With Brunson on the court, the Knicks had a stellar 121.2 offensive rating. But when he sat, their offensive rating plummeted to 104.2, a horrific mark. The Knicks as a team were unable to function offensively when Brunson sat.

While he isn’t a good defender, Brunson was top-five in the NBA in charges drawn and consistently put his body on the line to make sure his defense did not negatively impact the Knicks. The Knicks’ defensive rating did not fall off a cliff when he played, and Brunson made sure to put a lot of effort on the defensive side of the ball.

The Difference in Circumstances

The biggest talking point is the best player on the team with the best record bias. The Boston Celtics won 14 more games than the NY Knicks. But they did so because they had one of the best rosters in the NBA. The Celtics’ entire starting five averaged over 68 games played and all scored in double-digits. In comparison, the Knicks had just two players to hit both those marks. Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo. The Celtics had an All-Star caliber player in Jaylen Brown and two All-Defensive second-team players in Jrue Holiday and Derrick White surrounding Tatum. Whereas Brunson had nothing. DiVincenzo had been a career backup before this year. Josh Hart, one of their best role players, has never even come close to averaging 20 points a game or making an All-Defensive team.

This seems like highway robbery. Despite putting together a better campaign, being fifth in MVP voting, and carrying the Knicks on his back, Brunson was snubbed. Brunson had a great season in 2023-24. Tatum might be the better player, but there is no doubt that Brunson deserved the All-NBA first team over him.


More Posts