This week, the NBA announced the KIA Player of the Month awards for each conference. February’s honors went to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić and New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić and New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson have been named the Kia NBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in February. pic.twitter.com/6eoJgs4IdZ— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) March 2, 2023
Brunson has been the battery that drives the surging Knicks. The team closed the month with a seven-game winning streak, thanks to his contribution of 27.3 points and six assists per game. He has demonstrated excellent accuracy, shooting 42.6% from downtown and 52.9% overall. In fact, since January 1, 2023, Jalen has scored 743 points; only Damian Lillard has scored more (943). Flamethrower of the East!
The Knicks, who rank fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, suddenly have much to celebrate, and Brunson’s success is the cherry on top. During the past month, they beat formidable opponents that included the Celtics, Jazz, and Nets. Brunson’s leadership and skill were keys to their success.
Other Eastern Conference nominees for the POTM award included Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Joel Embiid (76ers), Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland), Julius Randle (Knicks again!), Pascal Siakam (Raptors) and Trae Young (Hawks). Jokić, the league’s two time-MVP, must have a closet full of these things.
Previously Jalen took Player of the Week honors for Week 13. Not bad for a guy who didn’t make the All-Star team:
It will be thrilling to watch Brunson lead this squad into the playoffs. Thanks again to the Dallas Mavericks for their folly in not signing him when they could have (for pennies on the dollar!). We’ll be quite content to keep him for a long, long time.