The New York Knicks had an impressive 2023-24 season off the leadership of star point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson's stellar efforts earned him his first All-NBA honor. Esteemed Knicks supporter and NBA Analyst Stephen A Smith dropped a big claim on Brunson's All-NBA status, shockingly dragging Mavericks guard Luka Doncic into the mix.

Many predicted Brunson would land amongst the league's best in the 2023-24 honors. He averaged a career-high 28.7 points (fourth in the NBA), 6.7 assists, and led the Knicks to their first 50-win season in nearly 10 years. Stephen A Smith was not shocked that Brunson made the All-NBA Second Team, but he thought he should have gotten higher honors.

“Upon reflection, I definitely thought Jalen Brunson deserved to be First Team. Believe it or not, even ahead of Luka [Doncic],” Smith said, via First Take.

Smith acknowledged how his take could be seen as “sacrilegious.” He admitted that he voted Brunson as a Second Team member. Nevertheless, Smith explained why the star New York guard should have gotten more credit than a First Team member like Luka Doncic.

“When Julius Randle [went] down, Jalen Brunson averaged 31 and a half points the rest of the season and propelled the Knicks to a No. 2 seed. Luka Doncic, as great as he is, had Dallas at a No. 5 seed,” Smith added.

Smith further acknowledged how some might see the Western Conference as tougher than the Eastern Conference but believes Brunson's situation has more merit. Doncic had the help of Kyrie Irving, while Brunson did not have the same star support due to Randle's injury.

Is Stephen A Smith's take valid? Brunson did great things during the regular season. Yet, he and the Knicks' playoff hopes did not completely come to fruition.

Knicks, Jalen Brunson reload after second-round exit 

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) flexes his left hand
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As Smith mentioned, New York earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They battled through a stout Philadelphia 76ers team to win their first postseason series in six games. Then, the Knicks ran into stubborn foes in the second round.

New York had trouble taming Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers. After being down 2-0, the Pacers stormed back and won two straight games. The Knicks responded with a commanding 121-91 Game 5 victory and had a chance to close things out on the road in Game 6. But Indiana prevailed and won two more games to bounce New York out of the postseason.

Of course, New York's tough loss can be taken with a grain of salt. Three of their starters were injured during the series. Mitchell Robinson was ruled out with an ankle ailment, OG Anunoby suffered a hamstring strain, and Randle was still recovering from his regular season shoulder surgery.

Still, the Knicks received admirable performances from Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo. The two guards solidified themselves as two of the best role players in the NBA. Their two-way abilities should serve the Knicks well for the future.

Jalen Brunson and New York's 2023-24 season was highly respectable. When the team returns healthy, they could be in line to take the Eastern Conference crown in 2024-25.