Ranking 4 perfect backcourt options to pair with Jalen Brunson long-term

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The New York Knicks won 47 games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs largely on the shoulders of Jalen Brunson this past season. After many were initially skeptical of the 6’1″ lead guard being able to live up to the $104 million he received in free agency, he proved his doubters wrong and then some.

Brunson averaged 24.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 0.9 steals per game on impeccable 49-42-83 shooting splits in the regular season while helping lead New York to the fifth seed. He wasn’t done either, putting up 27.8 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.5 steals each night in the postseason on 47-33-91 splits.

At just 26 years old, it’s highly probable that Brunson’s best years are still ahead of him. Since the Knicks were two wins away from the Eastern Conference Finals, it makes sense for the front office to prioritize building around their point guard moving forward.

This starts in the backcourt, as there are a plethora of shooting guard options both on and off the roster that fit exceptionally well next to Brunson. It’s time to rank some of the most realistic ones.

The only criterion is that a player must have spent most of their time on the floor in the shooting guard spot, meaning RJ Barrett and Josh Hart do not qualify due to having mainly been used as forwards.

4 ideal backcourt partners to pair with Jalen Brunson long-term

4: Immanuel Quickley

Quickley is coming off the best season of his career, finishing second in NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting while blossoming as an elite perimeter defender. He pummeled opposing bench units on a nightly basis, but is his future as a starter next to Brunson?

It’s a funky pairing, as both guards operate at their best when they’ve got the ball in their hands. Brunson and Quickley ranked first and second on the team in both time of possession and average dribbles per touch last season, respectively.

It may not make sense initially to put both players on the court when having at least one running the offense for a full 48 minutes has worked so well in the past, but the numbers say otherwise.

Brunson and Quickley started alongside each other in only seven games last season, although their impact in that short sample size is eye-opening. The Knicks finished with a record of 5-2 while picking up wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, an absurd 59-win pace.

In those seven games, Brunson averaged 26.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 46% from the field and 40% from three. In that same timeframe, Quickley put up 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per contest while making 51% of his field goals and 42% of his threes.

The only things keeping him from being higher on the ranking are the established success the Knicks already have with staggering their minutes, as well as the previously mentioned minuscule sample size.

It’s also worth noting that Quickley averaged more points and assists as a starter without Brunson next to him.

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