I know this blog could go a bunch of different ways. We can talk about Mitchell Robinson, we can talk about Obi, Quickley, RJ. But I want to write an ode to Jalen Brunson. I want to write an ode to Jalen Brunson because this series against the Cavs was going to determine how everyone talked about him, Donovan Mitchell and the Knicks as a whole. If the Cavs won, it would have been same old Knicks missing out on a super star in Donovan Mitchell and settling for guys who can't do it in the playoffs.
Except, you know. We have the star.
This is no disrespect to Julius Randle. Trust me, I'll defend that man until I die. But you need a guy who can take over the game from the guard spot. That's what Jalen Brunson did all series. Big shots? No problem. Outplaying Donovan Mitchell? Easy as shit quite honestly. This is what we waited 30 years for.
The Knicks went after all the names since those days of Ewing and Mason and Oakley and Starks. There was Allan Houston and Sprewell. Both damn good. There was Carmelo Anthony, another damn good player, who never really felt like the guy who could win for you though. There was Amar'e. There was Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady and every other free agency/trade move that was supposed to be the guy. None of them felt like Jalen Brunson. The young guy in his prime who can keep the Knicks relevant year after year.
This is why Leon Rose is a genius. He didn't pull the trigger on Mitchell which would have led to no combo of guys like RJ, Grimes, Quickley, Obi, Mitchell Robinson and picks. Instead every single one of those guys were important in this series. Quickley chased Garland around all series. Robinson dominated any single person the Cavs tried to put in the paint. RJ was fucking awesome the last 3 games. Obi came in tonight with Randle hurt and had a massive 3rd quarter to keep the lead comfortable.
Everyone wanted to make fun of the Knicks for signing Brunson to a $104 million deal. It was a steal. He was the best player in a playoff series against a guy who was 'supposed' to be the super star. We waited decades for this. Now we get to see a second round playoff series for the first time in a decade.
Oh and good luck convincing me the Knicks get Josh Hart if it's not for Brunson being there. Best friends 100% played a role in landing him at the deadline and winning this series. Leon Rose, you magnificent smart bastard. Hit the damn music.