The New York Knicks really, really wanted Jalen Brunson. They did everything in their power to lure the former Dallas Mavericks guard to the Big Apple via free agency, and in the end, they prevailed.
Brunson has put pen to paper on a four-year, $104 million deal, and needless to say, there’s going to be a lot of pressure for him to perform at the top level. One of the things the 25-year-old will have to go through will be Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau’s ruthless coaching style. At this point, however, Brunson is really looking forward to playing under Thibs (h/t Newsday’s Steve Popper [paywalled]):
“Yeah, it’s definitely going to be different,” Brunson said. “I mean, it’s the same with my dad and he never really pushed me like that as a coach, so he was always like a coach/mentor.
“Honestly, I’m thrilled because it’s a different kind of responsibility. As they know, I’m the kind of person who likes to be coached and likes to be pushed. And so having something like that where you can possibly cross the lines, but knowing that it’s all out of love and it’s all out of respect, I mean, they know what type of person I am, how I’m made up. And so I don’t think I have to worry about something like that, but I just know that they’re going to push me to try to get the best out of me.
Jalen Brunson is well aware of how Thibodeau takes a pragmatic approach when dealing with his players, and the 6-foot-1 combo guard looks ready for the challenge ahead. As we all know, the relationship of the coach with his playmaker is one of the most important aspects of their team dynamics, and it will be very interesting to see how this pair begin their relationship once the new season over.
It should also be noted that Coach Thibs is entering its third year in New York. His first two seasons leave a lot to be desired, and given the way the Knicks have gone all-in this summer, there’s no denying that Thibodeau himself will be under pressure in 2022-23.