Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks have gotten off to a relatively strong start to the 2023-24 NBA season. The Knicks currently sit with a solid record of 12-7, and Brunson has continued to play at an All-Star level, supplemented by a strong supporting cast under head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Still, not everyone is convinced that the Knicks are ready to get over the hump. Recently, former NBA player and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith spoke on the state of the Knicks and why they are not destined for greatness.
“This is why the Knicks are gonna stay in the middle. Every game that they play, they always have the second-best player,” said Smith on TNT's Inside the NBA (via Dime on X). “You play Boston, you've got the second or third best player. You play Orlando with [Paolo] Banchero, they don't have a player that's better than Banchero. Milwaukee, we know they don't. Philadelphia, they don't. The Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton is the best player on the floor… you don't have the best player on the floor any night.”
Knicks fans would probably (vehemently) disagree with Kenny Smith's assessment that Paolo Banchero is better than Jalen Brunson, especially considering that Banchero is arguably not even the best player on his own team (Franz Wagner would have a claim, but of course, Inside the NBA isn't popular for its cogent analysis). Still, the point mostly remains that the Knicks generally have no margin for error when they take the court due to their relative talent disparity when compared to other Eastern Conference playoff teams.
Still, it certainly wouldn't be hard to envision New York bringing in a true superstar at some point in the near future.