The Knicks will hit the court for the first time in the 2022-23 season on Wednesday night. Jalen Brunson will make his Knicks debut against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies. 

The day has come. One last round of binge-watching hype videos before the start of a brand new NBA regular season. The New York Knicks are back in action. No more preseason play — it’s the real deal as they tip things off on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are coming off their best season yet during the Ja Morant era. They finished 56-26 in the regular season, finishing in second place in the Western Conference. They made it to the conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs, where they fell to eventual champion Golden State Warriors in six games.

Memphis bested New York in both meetings last season, but who knows what a new year will bring with some new faces.

Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on ESPN.

JB vs. Ja

The Jalen Brunson-Ja Morant showdown will be the most intriguing matchup of the game. Brunson has looked impressive since joining the team, but the excitement had to be tempered to a degree because it was just preseason. Now, he’s making his official debut, and there will be no better way to make an opening statement than to help the Knicks to a win. There will also be bonus points if Brunson is able to impress with an All-Star guard lined up across from him.

Their playing styles are very different, so it’s not like Brunson has to go shot-for-shot with Morant. The Dallas Mavericks played the Grizzlies four times last season, but Morant wasn’t available for two of those meetings.

When they did face off against one another, Brunson and the Mavericks went 2-0 over Morant and Memphis. Brunson had 15 points and nine assists, with a +12 plus-minus rating, while Morant had 19 points in a Jan. 14 meeting. The two teams met again nine days later, with Brunson triumphing again, despite a 35-point, 13-rebound outing from Morant.

One thing’s for sure though, the Knicks will definitely have a much-needed playmaking boost with Brunson around, after ranking dead last in the NBA for assists per game last season at 21.9.

Keeping an eye on returners

RJ Barrett also impressed during preseason play, leading the Knicks with 19.8 points per game through their four-game slate, but now it’s time for him to make that big jump that many are expecting. While there are 82 games ahead, it’d be nice to see him start strong and continue to raise the level of his play as the official games begin. He and teammate Julius Randle should thrive off of having a true point guard, and there have already been some good flashes.

Will this be a rebound year after a bit of a regression for Randle? One interesting thing to note about the Knicks’ big man, he was a bright spot in each of the Knicks’ losses to the Grizzlies.

In the first meeting with Memphis, he posted 36 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks in an all-around game against the Grizzlies.

Then, in the rematch, he flirted with a triple-double as Evan Fournier lit things up from the perimeter. Randle finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and just two turnovers.

There’s already some sort of baseline to expect from these players, who had been among the top producers for the Knicks over the last couple of seasons. It’ll be more intriguing to see what the rotation and bench looks like early. Tom Thibodeau seemed set in his ways, and although he experimented with different configurations during preseason, how much of that will actually carry over? Which young Knicks emerge and thrive in bigger roles, and does the rotation actually expand under Thibodeau’s watch?

Injury report

For Memphis, Jaren Jackson Jr. (foot), Ziaire Williams (knee) and Danny Green (knee) are out and Dillon Brooks (thigh) is doubtful to play.

For the Knicks, Quentin Grimes (foot) is out and Obi Toppin is listed as day-to-day.


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