Warriors’ Draymond Green drops eye-opening take on Jalen Brunson vs. Carmelo Anthony debate

Tony Nguyen | Golden State Warriors
May 10, 2024

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson is quickly ascending the ranks in team history due to his brilliant stretch of playoff performances this spring. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has taken notice.

On Wednesday night, Brunson suffered a foot injury in the first half of New York’s Game 2 second-round series against the Indiana Pacers. However, he proceeded to return in the second half, scoring 24 of his 29 points and leading the Knicks to a 130-121 win and a 2-0 series edge.

While Brunson isn’t quite as revered as Patrick Ewing just yet (forget about Walt Frazier and Willis Reed), he may be approaching Carmelo Anthony status, if he hasn’t surpassed him already.

However, Green does not think Brunson is on that level just yet.

Green said he is rolling with Anthony for now because he came up in Anthony’s era. While he doesn’t want to be accused of being the “get off my lawn” type, he doesn’t think Brunson has done enough just yet to be on Melo’s level.

If anyone would know about what it takes to win and be elite in this league, it’s Green. He has been part of one of the NBA’s greatest dynasties with the Warriors, winning four championships and participating in six finals with the squad.

So, Green’s opinion certainly deserves to be respected, and at least acknowledged.

He was also sure to give Brunson his props, and how could he not? After all, Green experienced it first hand when Brunson dropped 34 points in a win over the Warriors back in mid-March.

Jalen Brunson is flourishing with Knicks

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) celebrates in the fourth quarter after scoring against the Indiana Pacers during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Brunson was a good player prior to signing with the Knicks in free agency during the summer of 2022.

The 27-year-old spent the first four years of his career with the Dallas Mavericks, and after displaying some significant potential over his first couple of seasons, Brunson began to break through during the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 12.6 points per game off 52.3/40.5/79.5 shooting splits.

Then, the following year, he registered 16.3 points per game on similar efficiency, leading to Brunson landing a lucrative deal with New York that offseason. But what the point guard did in Dallas has paled in comparison to what he is accomplishing in the Big Apple.

The Villanova product recorded 24 points and 6.2 assists a night in his debut campaign with the Knicks, and this season, he logged 28.7 points and 6.7 assists per contest en route to his first All-Star appearance. He has been even better in the playoffs this year, racking up a league-best 35.6 points per game. That’s Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant territory.

Funny enough, Anthony tallied 28.7 points per game in his best season with New York in 2012-13, when he won the scoring title and finished third in MVP voting. However, he was not nearly as efficient as Brunson, and he also did not have the same playoff resume. As a matter of fact, Anthony really struggled with his shot during the postseason while with the Knicks.

It also doesn’t help Melo’s case that New York failed to make the playoffs in each of his last four years with the club, and he was clearly declining during the back end of his tenure with the club. Brunson, on the other hand, seems to be hitting his peak. Case in point, prior to Game 2 against the Pacers, Brunson had rattled off four consecutive 40-point games.

To be fair to Anthony, Brunson seems to have a better supporting cast around him. Or, at the very least, the pieces fit together better. But there is no question that Brunson has already done more in the playoffs for the Knicks than Anthony ever did.

We’ll see if Brunson continues to carve out his legacy in New York as the postseason progresses.

Meanwhile, Green and the Warriors will go back to the drawing board after a disappointing ending to their own season.