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Rick Pitino, OG Anunoby sing Jalen Brunson praise: ‘Should win MVP’

You don’t hear as much criticism or backhanded compliments about Jalen Brunson or the Knicks anymore, with pundits, former and current NBA stars and basketball luminaries fully buying into what they’re accomplishing at the playoffs approach.

TNT studio analyst Kenny Smith even changed his tune from earlier this season, when he said the Knicks never had “the best player on the court” in games against others. leading opponents.

“The New York Knicks are, to me, the most surprising team in basketball right now,” Smith said on Thursday’s postgame show after the Knicks crushed the top-ranked Celtics of the league, in Boston.

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson is turning heads. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“They should be seeded No. 6 without Julius Randle. (Mitchell) Robinson missed games, OG (Anunoby) missed games. Brunson is by far the best basketball player in the Eastern Conference.

Brunson scored 39 points without playing in the fourth quarter in the victory, and he had averaged a league-best 39.4 in his last five games before Friday’s home game against the Nets out fight at the Garden.

Anunoby said afterward that Brunson “should win the MVP” of the league, and Basketball Hall of Famer and former Knicks coach Rick Pitino apparently agreed.

“I’m blown away by what (the Knicks) are accomplishing,” the current St. John’s coach posted Friday on X. “Teamwork, discipline, coaching and an insatiable desire to win.

“It doesn’t hurt to have this year’s MVP either!” Go Knicks! »

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, who was ahead of the curve throwing bouquets at the Knicks before the All-Star break, reaffirmed his previous statements that he thought Brunson was “the best point guard in the league.” .

“All I hear, whether on this network or any other network, is that with Jalen Brunson, the Knicks never have the first or second best player on the court. And every time he goes up against another player’s favorite player, he comes out victorious in a big way,” Perkins said Friday on First Take.

“When I look at this Knicks team, what do they have? They have a culture and an identity on both ends of the court. And when it comes to game-changing and managing, Jalen Brunson is both, whatever you want, and he’s the closest.

Pitino agreed that Brunson should become MVP. P.A.

In a subsequent network appearance, Perkins also called Brunson a “top-3” MVP candidate and “capable of being the best player in any series outside of (Denver center Nikola) Jokic.” .

Perkins didn’t reserve his kudos for Brunson, also pointing out Anunoby, who recently returned to the lineup after missing 27 of 30 games following elbow surgery.

Entering play Friday, the Knicks were 18-3 in the 21 games in which the two-way forward appeared for them following a late December trade that sent former first-round picks R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Raptors.

OG Anunoby praised his teammate. Getty Images

“I can’t sing enough praises about OG Anunoby,” Perkins said. “He’s probably the most disrespected player in the game. In fact, he’s the best role player in the league and the best 3-D guy.

“What he brings to the table, you can’t replace him. There’s a reason why Toronto set the bar so high when it came to what they wanted for OG. And we’re seeing that right now in terms of the effect he’s had on the Knicks uniform.

The Knicks had a chance Friday to clinch at least the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, with a win and a Cavaliers loss.

They needed to win each of their final two games, with the Bucks losing their last two – including Friday night in Oklahoma City – to steal second place.

New York Post

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