The Brunson effect: Knicks add to win streak while Mavericks struggle

Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

A round of applause for the New York Knicks; having won their last eight games, the Knicks are giving their fans something to be happy about as the Holidays approach. On Tuesday, the historically awful team added an impressive name to their streak, winning big against the defending champion Golden State Warriors 132-94 in Madison Square Garden.

The excuses being whispered and stated under one’s breath can’t be any louder; the Warriors did not have Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins on the floor. Would that have made a difference? Absolutely. But despite those absences, the Dubs, on paper, were still supposed to leave MSG with a win. We are talking about a team with Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Klay Thompson. The game summary is this simple; the Knicks capitalized when the Warriors were asleep on defense. Six men in black and orange scored double digits, including Jalen Brunson, who within 30 minutes, tallied 21 points, five assists, three rebounds, and a steal.

The Knicks made the right signing.

As an organization that constantly tries and fails to land superstars, a lot of pressure falls on anyone who signs for the Knicks. After failing to land Donovan Mitchell this summer, the Knicks signed Brunson from Dallas. He may not be the big name New Yorkers hoped for, but Knicks fans have been pleased with the New Jersey native’s work.

So far this season, Brunson is averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game while shooting 37.4% from three and 46.8% from the field. Brunson’s presence has proven to Knicks fans that a one-man-show at the Garden is not the key to their success. His teammates Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, are averaging 22.3 and 19.4 points respectively, as the Knicks have been playing true team basketball night in and night out. Assigning Brunson as the primary floor general has improved an already solid roster. The Knicks are currently 18-13 and sixth in the Eastern Conference. At this point last season, the Knicks were 14-17. They finished the season with a 37-45 record and 11th in the east.

Brunson is yet to miss a game for the Knicks and has made his presence felt every time he stepped on the floor. He embodies fluidity and composure. Although he can’t avoid the spotlight, he is more concerned about his team’s performance and winning. While it is still early in the season, the Knicks seeing this kind of success happens once in a blue moon. And thanks to Brunson’s contributions, they might have a breakthrough season. A title is far from guaranteed, but they may have found the missing piece to the puzzle.

The Brunson effect.

If you are wondering how much value an individual holds, there is one way to get an idea. Look at how a company they used to work for, a person they used to be in a relationship with, or a team they used to be part of is doing after their departure. It can lead to different results depending on the situation, but in Brunson’s case, it works.

Before moving to the Empire State, Brunson was in Dallas playing Robin to Luka Doncic’s Batman. Brunson embraced this role in the same manner that he did with the Knicks. He became a massive factor in the Mavericks’ run to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Warriors in five games.

Doncic is having an MVP-caliber season. However, Brunson’s departure has stunted the Mavs’ success this season. Not to take anything away from Doncic, he is a phenomenal player who could make a case for MVP no matter where he plays. But the absence of a right-hand man has forced him to carry more weight. It is not hard to stand out with a subpar surrounding cast. As great as Doncic is, success becomes a fairytale without teammates who can lighten the load.

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The Mavericks currently have a 15-16 record and are tenth in the West. Dallas has a 48% win percentage compared to New York’s 58%. It has become crystal clear that while Brunson is thriving in the Big Apple, Doncic needs help and the Mavs better provide it sooner than later.