Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks have hit somewhat of a rough patch in recent weeks after starting off the new year with a surge up the Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks were gifted a win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday evening with a shocking no-call late in the contest which the NBA has since acknowledged was incorrect, but the fact that Brunson and his teammates even needed such intervention to beat the worst team in the NBA was a cause for concern for fans.

It's important to note that said rough patch has coincided with several key injuries for New York, including to both Julius Randle and OG Anunoby. For his part, occasional Knicks fan and ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith believes that these injuries will actually help New York when the playoffs role around.

“Julius Randle and the New York Knicks are going to the Conference Finals… If they were healthy, Tom Thibodeau would run them into the ground because he prioritizes the regular season so much,” said Smith on ESPN's First Take (per ClutchPoints on X, the social media platform formerly referred to as Twitter.

Indeed, Thibodeau has garnered a reputation for playing his stars beyond their means in the regular season, which some have blamed for Randle's two historic flameouts in both of his postseason appearances with the Knicks. Hopefully for New York fans, Smith is right in his assertion that this missed time will pay dividends in the NBA postseason this spring.