ESPN Analyst Claims Jalen Brunson Could Be Greatest Player in Knicks Franchise History

Jay Williams went on 'Get Up' to discuss the All-Star point guard's performance in Game 6 and was very, very complimentary.
Jalen Brunson
Jalen Brunson / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night the New York Knicks moved on to the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs by way of a 118-115 win in Game 6 over the Philadelphia 76ers. Jalen Brunson was magnificent once again, recording 41 points (including 14 points in the fourth quarter) to put the persistent Sixers away. ESPN analyst Jay Williams was so in awe of his performance he went on Friday morning's episode of Get Up to sing the point guard's praises.

He may have gone a bit far, though. Even for the most diehard of Knicks fans. Williams said he believes Brunson will go down as one of the greatest Knicks of all-time— if not the greatest.

Brunson has been incredibly impressive and the marks he's hit as noted by the chyron are historic. However, Williams himself acknowledges he may be getting a bit over his skis by speaking so highly of Brunson's place in franchise history when he hasn't won a championship yet. Patrick Ewing didn't get one but Walt Frazier and Willis Reed both did. Even the most ardent Brunson supporter would balk at arguing Brunson is above any of those three in the franchise hierarchy as of now.

This sort of Brunson-mania is completely understandable through the lens of recent Knicks history. The organization was desperately searching for a new face of the franchise for nearly five years after Carmelo Anthony left and hadn't been seriously competitive in nearly a decade. The years between Ewing's retirement and the Melo trade aren't even worth discussing in this space. The Knicks were seriously lacking in 21st century legends before Brunson came along.

And he is perfect for the Knicks, just like franchise faces of old. Anthony was a walking highlight reel but didn't draw the love of the more gritty, earn every inch segment of the fanbase in the same way Brunson has. Knicks fans love a grinder and Brunson, if anything, is exactly that. Plus, before Brunson signed the best point guard to grace Madison Square Garden was 2007-'08 Stephon Marbury and he didn't win a single playoff series. It's been a while.

Brunson is very exciting to watch and feels tailor-made for the New York Knicks. He's still a long ways off from the heights reached by Frazier and Willis and even Ewing. A great first round series makes a franchise legend not, but perhaps this is the year when that changes.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.