mobile app bar

Kenny Smith ‘Flip-Flopping’ on Jalen Brunson and Knicks Leaves NBA Twitter ‘Mad’

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Kenny Smith ‘Flip-Flopping’ on Jalen Brunson and Knicks Leaves NBA Twitter ‘Mad’

The New York Knicks inched closer to securing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs after recording a surprise 118-109 win over the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. Knicks guard Jalen Brunson was the show’s star and delivered one of the best performances of his career. Brunson’s stellar display prompted analyst Kenny Smith to declare the Knicks guard the MVP of the Eastern Conference.

Jalen Brunson finished the game with 39 points, four assists, and two rebounds to guide his team to a road win against the league’s best team. During TNT’s halftime show, Kenny credited the 27-year-old for keeping his team’s playoff dream alive in the absence of several key players,

“The New York Knicks are the most surprising team in basketball to me, right now. They should be a #6 seed without Julius Randle. [Mitchell] Robinson missed most of the season. OG [Anunoby] missed games. [Jalen] Brunson has been the best player in the Eastern Conference by far.”

Smith’s latest take on Brunson is a far cry from his previous sentiment about the Knicks guard. In December 2023, the analyst ripped New York and claimed they’d be a middle-of-the-pack team at best due to their lack of star power. He said,

“Every game that they play, they always have the second-best player. You play Boston, you’ve got the second or third best player. You play Orlando, with (Paolo) Banchero, they don’t have a player that’s better than Banchero. Milwaukee, we know they don’t. Philadelphia, they don’t. The Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton is the best player. If you play the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler is the best player on the floor. If you play the Cleveland Cavaliers, you have Donovan Mitchell.”

A little over four months since that take, Smith has changed his tune and has crowned Brunson the best player in the East. While his opinion about the Knicks’ roster aged poorly, it’s commendable that he’s willing to walk back on it and credit the guard for his spectacular campaign, even if it left him with an egg on his face.

Fans flame Kenny Smith for awful take on Knicks roster

While Kenny Smith was gracious enough to admit that the Knicks have the best player in the Eastern Conference, the team’s fans weren’t content. One fan complained about the analyst’s tone when he complimented the guard.

Another called him out for claiming Orlando Magic’s sophomore star Paolo Banchero was better than Brunson.

One Knicks fan had a more positive outlook and credited Smith for changing his opinion.

However, they were in the minority, as most resorted to name-calling the analyst.

It’s ludicrous to expect an analyst to be spot-on with every take. However, Smith was unnecessarily harsh with his opinion about the Knicks’ roster and it struck the fans’ nerves, who aren’t willing to move past his comments from December, despite him crowning Brunson the Eastern Conference’s best player.

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

Read more from Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Share this article