Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and Obi Toppin made a special appearance at a Nike Pro City playoff game last night. Unfortunately, the first taste of Brunson playing alongside incumbent Knickerbockers ended on a sour note, a 110-97 loss.
At least Jalen’s no-look dish to Obi for a jam provided a tantalizing preview of the 2022-23 season. When those two connect on their home court, Madison Square Garden is going to explode.
Monday night at Hostos Community College, our heroes squared off against a Burgundy squad that included Jordan Aaron (UW-Milwaukee), Jordan Washington (Iona), Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall), Kyle Cuffe, Jr. (Kansas), Desure Buie (Hofstra), Chris Hooper (St. Francis), and Kevin Douglas (St. Francis).
In 2013-14, Aaron led the Milwaukee Panthers with 14.7 points per game. The Bronx native finished Monday’s game with 40 points.
Washington, last seen hooping with the Saudis, chipped in 39. The 6’8” Washington played two seasons for Iona (2015-2017), averaging 16.2 points and seven rebounds.
Washington and Randle were paired throughout the game, and things got testy between the two forwards. At one point after checking out, Washington heckled Julius from the bench, shouting, “You ain’t doin’ nothin’ out there!”
Randle can’t catch a break from beef and grief, but it will all make for a great narrative when he collects his second Most Improved Player award. Here, he responds to Washington’s jawing with a step back three.
All summer long, NBA players have been moonlighting in the Pro-Am games. Last week, Brunson notched 28 at the Rumph Classic in Philadelphia. According to Matthew Neschis of the NY Post, the Knicks biggest off-season acquisition received a standing ovation before Monday’s game.
There was a worrisome moment later on, however, when Julius Randle took a hard fall that resulted in knee soreness. He played through the pain, but it served as a reminder that injuries are a concern when big-money players compete in meaningless games.
If you’re stressing about the loss, don’t. The Burgandy crew wanted the victory and worked hard for it. While the party-crashing Knickerbockers put forth a few highlights—Brunson flashed some tasty moves, Obi did Obi things—they seemed to be mostly practicing and getting familiar with each other.
Nonetheless, losing to a rag-tag crew stings a bit. Washington certainly enjoyed his moment in the sun:
Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and Obi Toppin's team are losing by 7 with 3:33 left and their opponents are celebrating pic.twitter.com/ctXOpXGxF3— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) August 9, 2022
And why not? The kid from Jamaica, Queens got to tug on Superman’s cape for a night. One day he can brag to his grandkids about the time he tagged a few off-duty Knicks for 39 and got a mention on Posting and Toasting. Happy to oblige, Jordan.
Meanwhile…at Chalmette High…