Through 64 minutes as a Knick, Jalen Brunson has flashed his ability to score, distribute and make others around him better. But perhaps the most impressive statistic has a zero on it: turnovers.
Brunson, despite playing with the ball in his hands frequently, has yet to commit a turnover while registering 15 assists.
“He has a great understanding of the game, and I think that’s probably the most important thing,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after the Knicks blew out the Pistons, 130-106, in the home opener at the Garden. “And I think how you manage and control the game is another strength. But usually, when you analyze turnovers, they fall into one of two categories. They’re either risky passes that you’re trying to thread the needle, or you’re going too much one-on-one. And he has a great feel for when to go and when to pass.”
Brunson was efficient, scoring 17 points and dishing out six assists in 28 minutes. Perhaps his most impressive play came in the first quarter. Brunson gave up his body to save a loose ball from going out of bounds, falling into the crowd, and it led to an RJ Barrett layup.
“I think those hustle plays do nothing but unite and inspire the team,” Thibodeau said.
While the Knicks and their fans held out hope of landing Jaden Ivey in the lead-up to the draft in June, the former Purdue star was crossing his fingers that he would wind up with the Pistons.
“Family ties that I have to the city, I always went to Pistons games and always looked forward to going to the games,” Ivey told The Post before the Knicks’ home opener. “I always looked forward to going to Detroit. When I thought there was a chance I was going to Detroit, I was really, really happy.”
Ivey, selected by the Pistons with the fifth-overall pick in the draft, had talked about the Knicks prior to the draft, telling reporters in a pre-draft interview that “it would be “a tremendous opportunity, tremendous organization, the New York Knicks. I would be honored to be able to play there.” He also said then that “there could be situations where I can land in New York.”
When reminded of those comments, Ivey said: “It was all up in the air, I didn’t know where I was going to end up.”
Quentin Grimes (sore left foot) remained out, although he appears to be progressing and was able to do more before the game. He has yet to practice fully after discomfort in the troublesome left foot returned after he played in last Friday’s preseason game.
“He looks like he’s moving good. But it’s how he feels the next day after he ramps it up,” Thibodeau said.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Detroit never considered keeping Kemba Walker after the draft-night trade with the Knicks.
“We understood where Kemba was at that time. There was a conversation about the buyout and the whole nine yards,” Casey said. “We understood that and we had just gotten Ivey, Cade Cunningham, and also we had Cory Joseph.”
The 32-year-old Walker remains without a team.