Jalen Brunson: Knicks need ‘mindset of not being satisfied’

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson drives to the basket as Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija.
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson drives to the basket as Washington Wizards forward Deni Avdija. / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have won six of their last seven games and climbed to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference in the process. But guard Jalen Brunson remains focused on how much better the team can be.

"I feel like we've played better as of late, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Brunson said after Friday night’s win in Washington. “We gotta close out games better. We just gotta find ways to make life easier for us and for each other and I think we're taking a step in the right direction.”

He added: “We just gotta have that mindset of not being satisfied… find ways to keep pushing and continuing to get better.”

And for Brunson, playing better than he is right now will be a tough task. Since coming back from a hip injury he sustained in the Knicks' loss on Christmas Day, he has been on a tear, averaging 33.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 5.7 rebounds on 52.2 percent shooting while playing 39.7 minutes per game during the month of January. He has scored 34 points or more in three of the last four games.

Brunson admits he is playing at a high level but isn’t satisfied.

“I feel like I’m doing a lot to help this team, but at the same time I know I can play a lot better, I can play a lot more efficient, I can do a lot of things better,” Brunson said. “Can’t be satisfied with this right now. Just gotta keep pushing.”

On the defensive side, Brunson added Friday night's performance was “a step in the right direction” but with New York’s recent habit of letting teams back into games, he added, “I still think we have a lot of work to do.”

The Knicks get a crack at holding on to a late-game lead when they play the lowly Pistons Sunday afternoon in Detroit.