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Jalen Brunson deserved All-NBA first-team nod ‘ahead of’ Luka Doncic: Stephen A. Smith

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Stephen A. Smith believes Jalen Brunson should have been an All-NBA first-team member.

Smith said Brunson, who got named to the second team this week, deserved the spot “even ahead of Luka [Dončić],” an opinion he even called “sacrilegious.”

“I wasn’t shocked, but upon reflection, I definitely thought that Jalen Brunson deserved to be first team,” Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” on Friday.

Doncic averaged a league-high 33.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and career-highs in assists (9.8) and steals (1.41).

Stephen A. Smith said Jalen Brunson should have been first team All-NBA. Getty Images
Stephen A. Smith gave his reasoning for his feelings on Brunson.

Brunson received 37 first-team votes and 61 second-team votes, with the most total points of anyone on the second team.

But originally, Smith wasn’t even one of his first-team voters.

“To quite honest with you I had Jalen Brunson second team, but I regret doing that,” Smith said.

Smith added on the show that Brunson stepped up when Julius Randle suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in January, leading the Knicks with 31.5 points per game.

But originally, the ESPN talking head said he didn’t want the honor going to Dončić or Brunson.

Smith didn’t originally vote for Brunson. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“All I was saying was there was no way I was giving him my nod over Shai Gilgeous Alexander. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is my league MVP. I had a vote, I voted for him,” Smith said.

The Thunder point guard averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds while holding a field-goal percentage of 53.5 percent during the regular season.

“To be on the second-youngest team in the league, to have them as a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, to score more than 30 in 50 games this year, I can’t say enough of about Gilgeous-Alexander.”

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) controls the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) in the second quarter during game one of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

But Smith went on to say Brunson was more impressive than the other names on the table because of how decimated the Knicks became after injuries.

“I know how great Luka Dončić is, but I look at Kyrie and the rest of these boys and I think Jalen Brunson didn’t have that kind of help. Reflecting, I kinda think he deserved first team.”

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