Knicks’ Jalen Brunson Not Getting Respect From Referees

Jalen Brunson, Knicks, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson has ascended to star status during the 2023-24 NBA season. He was named to his first All-Star game and has a very strong case to make one of the All-NBA teams as well.

While fans and his peers in the league are taking notice of how good Brunson has gotten, he is still being disrespected in one regard. The NBA is a star-driven league and in some cases, they will get a favorable whistle when on the court. For whatever reason, Brunson has not yet received that benefit of the doubt.

On a nightly basis, Brunson works his way into the paint only to be crushed by an opponent without a whistle being blown. Referees are human; they are going to make mistakes just like anyone else at their job. But, some of the non-calls against Brunson have gotten egregious.

He isn’t a player that is shying away from contact. On Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs, Brunson scored a career-high 61 points; 30 of which came inside the paint. But, he was given only seven free throw attempts.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jalen Brunson & New York Knicks Updates

It was a trend that continued on Sunday evening against the Oklahoma City Thunder. There were several occasions that Brunson took shot attempts that he felt he was fouled on and video replay would normally agree.

The most egregious non-call of course came with the game hanging in the balance. With the Knicks trailing by one point, Brunson attacked the rim for a difficult layup, which he converted. Contact was made and he was hit hard by Luguentz Dort.

No foul call was made, as the Knicks held a one-point lead. It didn’t last for long, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down a game-winning jumper to give Oklahoma City the lead with 1.8 seconds remaining.

Had the referees made a foul call on Dort, Brunson would have been at the line for one free throw, which could have drastically changed the outcome of the game. But, it was not meant to be, as Brunson and the Knicks were on the short end of yet another bad call.

The lack of whistles for Brunson is certainly alarming. Usually in the NBA, it is the smaller player who gets the benefit of the doubt when being hit by larger players. Brunson isn’t getting that protection.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Jalen Brunson & New York Knicks Updates

As shared by Tommy Beer on X, Brunson has attempted 45 shots in the paint in the last two games and has been sent to the foul line only seven times. This had been a troubling trend for the entirety of March, as Brunson saw his free throw attempts per game plummet to 4.7.

The NBA is reportedly cracking down on players who attempt to bait referees into fouls, but there is no baiting on some of these highlights. Brunson is being hit hard and no calls are being made. He is putting the team on his back on a nightly basis but not being rewarded as he should be for his aggressiveness by the referees.

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