Derek Harper chuckled astatine the communicative that was spun this week, that Jalen Brunson was being overpaid to articulation the Knicks.
Just hold and see, the Mavericks’ tv expert said. Watch however helium impacts winning.
“People are going to beryllium shocked astatine what Jalen Brunson brings to the level each night,” Harper, arguably the Knicks’ past difference-maker astatine constituent guard, told The Post successful a telephone interrogation Friday, the time aft Brunson agreed to a four-year, $104 cardinal deal. “This feline is conscionable special. … I deliberation he’s underrated. Not until this twelvemonth has helium gotten the recognition helium deserves.
“He was a joyousness to watch, due to the fact that the bigger the moment, the bigger helium stood up, and I don’t deliberation you tin accidental that astir everybody. A batch of guys shy distant from large moments and adverse situations. That’s going to astonishment immoderate people.”
Nobody knows amended than Harper what awaits the 25-year-old Brunson successful New York. Like Brunson, helium went from the Mavericks to the Knicks, albeit successful a trade, not done escaped agency. There were precocious expectations for Harper arsenic helium joined a rubric contender helium past helped scope the 1994 NBA Finals. It took clip for him to acclimate to the pressure-cooker that is playing constituent defender for the Knicks, but helium doesn’t expect that to beryllium an contented for Brunson.
“Built for it, calved for it,” said Harper, who played parts of 3 seasons with the Knicks, from 1994-96, and averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals, helping them to a brace of 50-win seasons and 5 playoff bid victories. “There are immoderate guys that are cerebral capable that you tin enactment them successful a cage anyplace and they’re going to combat their mode out, and that’s Jalen. Jalen is not successful awe of immoderate subordinate successful this league. In fact, helium wants to beryllium himself against the best.”
Brunson grew up successful confederate New Jersey, and helium has beardown ties passim the Knicks organization. Team president Leon Rose is his erstwhile agent. Rose’s son, Sam, is his existent rep. Brunson has anterior relationships with manager Tom Thibodeau and seasoned defender Derrick Rose. His father, Rick, was precocious added to Thibodeau’s staff. Brunson knows what he’s successful for.
Harper is truthful assured successful Brunson successful portion due to the fact that helium has watched his improvement up close, from a second-round prime successful 2018 to a backup to a starter and astir precocious a breakout playoff performer. He has seen however hard, and diligently, helium works.
Harper jokingly refers to himself arsenic the president of the Jalen Brunson Fan Club, a radical helium expects to grow successful New York. Harper said helium believes that successful time, Brunson volition not lone beryllium worthy the large declaration helium conscionable received, but perchance adjacent outplay it.
“I conscionable spot a person successful Jalen, that’s the crushed wherefore I basal for him truthful hard,” Harper said.
Harper was torn this week erstwhile reports began to look that Brunson was headed to the Knicks. He was blessed that helium was capable to onshore a immense declaration successful the spot helium erstwhile called home, but disappointed that his days calling Brunson’s games were over. He grew fond of the southpaw, not conscionable the subordinate helium had become, but the high-character person, too.
Harper volition present person to travel him from a distance. The Mavericks’ nonaccomplishment is the Knicks’ gain.
When it was suggested to Harper that, astatine slightest connected paper, Brunson is the Knicks’ champion constituent defender since helium was moving the show, helium laughed.
“Man, I’m 60 years old,” Harper said.
That conscionable illustrates what a monolithic occupation the presumption has been for the Knicks implicit the past 25 years. But the past antheral to play that spot consistently good for them thinks they person recovered the close guy.
“I committedness Knicks fans that they won’t beryllium disappointed successful Jalen,” Harper said. “He’s flat-out 1 of the amended young constituent guards successful this league. He’s not 1 of these guys that’s going to get $100 cardinal and not proceed to enactment astatine his trade and scope a antithetic height.
“There’s much to travel with Jalen Brunson. You saw what helium did during the playoffs. … They person a coagulated constituent defender for a agelong clip to come.”