Knicks’ Jalen Brunson Wrongly Accused Of Foul Baiting

Jalen Brunson, Trae Young, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Knicks, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

There have been a lot of things said about New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson during his NBA career. To this point, he has proven all of the naysayers wrong, developing into an All-Star and All-NBA caliber player. Most recently, he now has another description that he will be looking to shake.

There have been a lot of discussions recently about how Brunson is being officiated. There are several times a game that he is drawing contact and no whistles are being blown by the referees. 

That has brought Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau to his boiling point. After the team’s loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, he gave a very animated post game press conference, repeating ‘he got fouled’ over and over in reference to his star point guard not getting the calls he should be.

The reasons for that could have been revealed by ESPN NBA analyst, Brian Windhorst. Earlier this week, Windhorst made a bold claim about Brunson and how he operates offensively. He called Brunson a foul hunter during an episode of his podcast.

While Windhorst admits that Brunson doesn’t have the reputation of Trae Young or James Harden, he attempts to manipulate things in a similar manner to draw whistles. DeMar DeRozan was another player mentioned and likened to how Brunson is looking to draw fouls.

The NBA has been looking to crack down on such things and Brunson seems to be targeted. His free throws per game dropped to 4.7 in March, by far his lowest in a month this season. However, the reputation that Brunson has received is farfetched.

Calling Brunson a foul hunter and putting him in the tier with Harden, Young and DeRozan is categorically false. As shared by X user brightskin prez, Brunson isn’t near the same level as those three players when it comes to drawing fouls.

Brunson’s FTR (free throw rate) this season is 117; the NBA average is 100, meaning Brunson is barely above the league average. That makes sense as he lives in the paint and drives to the basket with aggression.

Harden is on another level compared to Brunson with an FTR of 170. DeRozan is in another stratosphere with an FTR of 187. Young is at 167 this season but has never had a season below 127, which came in his rookie campaign in the NBA.

Brunson, as the leader of the Knicks, has taken onus saying he and the team need to adjust to how referees are now calling the game. But, the narrative surrounding him as a foul hunter could not be further from the truth.

Brunson doesn’t have the reputation of Young, DeRozan and Harden because he does not play the same way in which they do. Nonetheless, as long as the NBA referees believe that to be the case, New York and their point guard will have to find ways to adjust and get around it.

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