Despite what you saw last night, Jalen Brunson > Dejounte Murray

Last night the New York Knicks lost in Atlanta to the Hawks. This is not great news. If you had told the fans of either team before the season that the latter would win a home game against the former in January, neither fan would blink.

However, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there really aren’t that many Hawks fans. I searched for “Atlanta Hawks fans” on the system we use through SB Nation for item photos and I LITERALLY got pictures of the Milwaukee Bucks and their fans, the Detroit Pistons and their fans, the Houston Rockets and their fans, but no there are Hawks fans. Zero. For years, any team with anything resembling a fan base could count on games in Atlanta to be in fact home games. That’s understandable: The Atlanta Hawks have never actually been Really well. Never a title contender. He never made it to the finals. They are less popular than the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Georgia football, and possibly the Atlanta Thrashers, the NHL franchise that left for Winnipeg years ago.

Last summer, the Hawks traded three first-round picks, one pick trade, Danilo Gallinari and essentially Kevin Huerter for Dejounte Murray. While the Albany-born Huerter wasn’t actually in the trade for Murray, Atlanta owner Antony Ressler is only worth $6,100,000,000.00 and may have had to go a paper route to cover the couple million Huerter would have cost against the luxury tax, so Atlanta sent him to Sacramento, who, thanks in part to a career year so far for Huerter, are much better than the Hawks.

(Doesn’t Ressler look like the silver fox villain from a soap opera who makes his too-young wife believe that she’s losing her mind, that she was never pregnant, that those crying babies that wake her up every night are all in her head? This is a man drinking his whiskey neat.)

The Kings aren’t the only perennial playoff peripheral currently ahead of the Hawks. Even with this loss, their third in a row, the Knicks are still a half-game ahead of Trae & Co. I think most fans recognize that these two teams are pretty much in the same ballpark when it comes to quality. The Knicks and Hawks are the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the NBA, crossing paths with bona fide legends while remaining forever eminently minor characters themselves.

And yet, last night, not long after the game ended and I was slacking off on Twitter, I was accosted by several Hawks trolls. my crime? Responding to this.

With this:

Turns out I traded the Hawks for a W; they are 24-22. I find my mistake understandable, in light of his impersonation of a dead fish all season long. Until last night’s win they hadn’t been more than one game above .500 in six weeks.

I found it strange that a fan of a team that aspires not only to make the playoffs, but also to make noise once there, would be so proud of posting the 18th-best record in the Association. Some of these trolls, for reasons unknown to me, responded viciously about Jalen Brunson being more hyped than his big summer move, Dejounte Murray. Of course it’s ridiculous. The two players have played an almost identical number of minutes, with Brunson just five ahead of Murray, so this is more apples to apples than most comparisons. This is honey crunch for pink ladies.

More two-pronged shots? Brunson. 3s? A handful more for Murray. Brunson has made twice as many free throws. Both shoot 50% on doubles and are fantastic from the free throw line (86% for Brunson, 84% for Murray). Brunson has the advantage from deep, 40% to 36%. Murray is the best rebounder and the best defender. Brunson has a little more assists, a little less turnovers. Statistically, Brunson is a bit ahead, but like the teams they play for, these two are usually in the same ballpark (continuing the Raptors as the final member of our Middle Eastern trio, welcome to the Pretty Good Pagoda Point Guard, Fred VanVleet!).

Both players deserve extra credit for excelling in the way they have while simultaneously adjusting to different roles. Brunson left a Dallas team where he could live large as Luka’s co-driver for the bounty of the big city, where laconic doesn’t have to apply: a bigger role, a bigger paycheck, a bigger story. big to tell, and all in one big fat one. bet on yourself. Murray could have led a comfortable, well-paid life guiding San Antonio’s rookie herd into the future. Instead, the former All-Star who averaged nearly a triple-double last season agreed to switch positions and make major cutbacks in ball handling and decision-making while playing alongside Trae Young, a man who has never distanced himself. from their teammates or coaches. Considering the leaps Brunson and Murray have taken in very different ecosystems, they both deserve praise for their performances up to this point.

Murray was brought into his team with the expectation that he would elevate them from heavy game to playoff dark horse. And yet it is Brunson who has lifted his and his teammates’ game to such dazzling and splendid skies. Still, the season is young, and this season more so than most; he has been sooo scratchy. The Knicks’ current three-game losing streak follows a seven-game winning streak, which came after the five-game losing streak they built on top of an eight-game winning streak, which itself came on the heels of a two -slide streak of play. Now Atlanta has won six in a row, leading them near dead even with New York. The way these two teams stumble and shoot each other, the standings will continue to be volatile through game 82.

It would give Brunson a slight advantage over Murray at this early stage of things, but it’s already quite possible that the Knicks made a better move signing JB than the Hawks traded for DM. Not only did the Knicks not give up all the talent, assets and control of the draft for their new player like the Hawks did for theirs, but Brunson signed to a three-year, guaranteed deal (fourth year is his option). . Murray is a free agent in two summers and has made it clear that he will not sign any extensions before then. In 2024-25, the first year Murray will have his new contract, the Hawks already have $113 million committed to four players: Young, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Clint Capela. Assuming they trade Capela before then, they would also have to re-sign Onyeka Okongwu to a new contract and likely take the option on AJ Griffin. So even if they do make a few moves now and then to free up money, there’s a chance the Knicks will get more years out of Taj Gibson than the Hawks do from his shiny new toy.

In conclusion, Brunson > Murray.

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