Stephen A. Smith says Jalen Brunson deserved All-NBA first-team ‘ahead of’ Luka Doncic

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Jalen Brunson just produced one of the most historic seasons from a New York player, despite losing to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. For example, even though his team has been eliminated for over a week now, he’s still the player with most points accumulated in the current playoff competition. 

For this and many other reasons, Stephen A. Smith is convinced that the Knicks star was snubbed from being an All-NBA first-team member, as this past Wednesday he was announced as part of the second squad honours.

According to the expert, he deserved the spot “even ahead of Luka [Dončić],” despite the Dallas player still competing in the Western Finals. “I wasn’t shocked, but upon reflection, I definitely thought that Jalen Brunson deserved to be first team,” he said on ESPN’s First Take on Friday.

Despite the icon’s opinion, it would be very hard to take off the Slovenian from the All-NBA first team, especially as he averaged a league-high 33.9 points during regular season, alongside 9.2 rebounds and career-highs in assists (9.8) and steals (1.41).

The New York guard did receive 37 first-team votes, which is the most from anyone in his squad, and also 61 second-team ballots. “To quite honest with you I had Jalen Brunson second team, but I regret doing that,” Smith then revealed.

According to the broadcaster, Brunson’s season was extra special considering he had to step up for his team as many of his co-stars fell to injury. Julius Randle, for example, suffered a season-ending injury back in January and then Jalen led with 31.5 points per game in his absence.

“All I was saying was there was no way I was giving him my nod over Shai Gilgeous Alexander. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is my league MVP. I had a vote, I voted for him,” Stephen kept at it.

The Thunder guard averaged 30.1 points, while holding a field-goal percentage of 53.5%, with 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds during the regular season. “To be on the second-youngest team in the league, to have them as a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, to score more than 30 in 50 games this year, I can’t say enough of about Gilgeous-Alexander.”

The New York Star Guard Fractured His Left Hand In Knicks Elimination Game

The 27-year-old swiped down at rival Tyrese Haliburton in the third quarter and seemed to have hurt his left hand. He proceeded by going to the locker room, but eventually made his way back to the court. However, he was only back for 14 seconds before he realized his game, and season had come to an end.

“I thought I just jammed it, to be honest with you,” he expressed briefly before his quick return to the floor. “I looked down and knew something was wrong.”

Despite a great campaign, Jalen still thinks he has lots to improve. “I would say there’s pros and cons to how I played,” Brunson said looking back at his year. “The pros, obviously, are I played well individually at some points in the playoffs. The cons are that I didn’t play well enough to help my team move forward.

“You can say I got hurt in Game 7, I wasn’t playing well in Game 7. We had a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead, it’s just hard to look at things individually when you don’t help your team,” said the New York player.