Jalen Brunson Warns Knicks After Trade Deadline Move

New York Knicks All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson warned the team to not get ahead of themselves after bolstering their depth by trading for Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic.

“Obviously, everyone sees that. But we have to focus on right now. We can’t keep looking ahead to how we’re gonna be good and not be good now,” Brunson said via SNY after the Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers 125-111 on February 10.

While Burks’ return and Bogdanovic’s Knicks debut ended in a loss, it was hardly their fault. Blame it on injuries to their centers Isaiah Hartenstein (Achilles), Jericho Sims (illness) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle).

Without their three centers, Precious Achiuwa had to play 43 minutes while the 38-year-old Taj Gibson extended himself to 19 minutes. The Knicks were minus-9 in rebounds and minus-8 each in inside-the-paint scoring and second-chance points.

After deferring to his teammates in the first three quarters, Burks became aggressive in the fourth quarter as he almost single-handedly brought the Knicks back into the game. The veteran guard scored 15 of his 22 points in the closing quarter.

Bogdanovic had a tougher time to adjust as quickly as he could. He finished with just 11 points on 3 of 10 shooting over 33 minutes off the bench.

“I’m really excited to get to know them, get acclimated to what we do,” Brunson said via SNY. “They’re great. I think for us right now, we’ve just gotta be better on the rebounding and obviously on the defensive side of the ball. They were really comfortable, they shot great all game, and we gotta be better on that side of the ball.”

Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein Injury Updates
The Knicks will have Jericho Sims back in the lineup against the Houston Rockets after he missed the last two games with illness. On the other hand, the Knicks upgraded Isaiah Hartenstein’s playing status to questionable after he sat out the Indiana loss with a lingering Achilles issue.

If both centers return, the Knicks will not be at a disadvantage in rebounding and rim protection like they did against Indiana.

“We’ve had to count on our defense and our rebounding and it’s one of the few times we’ve been outrebounded all year,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau lamented after the game.

The Knicks handily beat the Rockets 109-94 in their first meeting this season on January 17. But they had Julius Randle and OG Anunoby back then.

The Rockets are a little thin in their frontcourt with only Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr. and veteran Jeff Green to contend with.

Knicks Among Top Favorites to Draft Bronny James
The Knicks own the second-best odds to land LeBron James‘ son Bronny in June’s NBA Draft, according to BetUS.

Bronny is ranked as the No. 55 overall prospect, according to NBA.com.

The Knicks have three selections in the upcoming draft — two in the first round and one in the second round.

James’ eldest son is having a less-than-stellar freshman season at USC after overcoming a cardiac arrest in the summer. Bronny’s 5.8 points on 35.6% shooting, 3 rebounds and 2.6 assists don’t inspire scouts to peg him as a first-round selection. But his pedigree and athleticism coupled with the possibility of James joining him on the team that drafts him makes him a compelling prospect.

The 39-year-old James has a $51.4 million player option for next season and teased the Knicks fans when his Los Angeles Lakers were in town two weeks ago.

“During my free agency period in 2010, it was one of the teams that I looked at,” James said. “So I’ve had that thought in my career.”

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