Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

Four games in, Jalen Brunson has already started rewriting the story of the modern-day Knicks.

Leadership. Focus. There’s a team chemistry in Madison Square Garden many thought long gone. This is what Brunson has brought to the table in his short Knicks tenure.

New York’s star free agent acquisition had all of his skills on display in Wednesday’s 134-131 overtime win over the Hornets. Brunson scored 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting, adding a career-best 13 assists. Brunson also flirted with a triple-double and added seven rebounds.

This is the situation the Knicks have dreamed of for over 20 years. At long last, the team has a valid and valuable point guard. No more Elfrid Payton nightmares or an out of shape Raymond Felton. Forget longing for Charlie Ward’s criminally underrated defense. No more lamenting not signing whoever the big free agent point guard is any given summer.

The Knicks got their man this time. Make no mistake. For at least the next three years, the Knicks are Brunson’s team.

In turn, he’s given a preview of what fans can expect over that timeframe. The Knicks have looked just as good as they did in a surprise season two years ago, perhaps even better. RJ Barrett is determined as ever and Julius Randle looks more motivated than he did in his breakout season two years ago.

“I have said all along, he just makes the game easy,” Randle said following Wednesday’s game. “He hits big shots, timely shots. He gets me good looks and he’s great.”

Barrett also praised Brunson, calling him “huge for us.”

And what does the newest Knicks star have to say about his hot start in New York? Well, not much. His sole focus is winning with the Knicks.

This quote and accompanying video are very telling. First, Brunson speaks very matter-of-factly, only briefly flashing an enigmatic smile more reminiscent of Tim Duncan than the Mona Lisa. A few might even say it falls under the umbrella of Kobe Bryant’s infamous “the job’s not finished” press conference, albeit without the adrenaline of the NBA Finals.

But let’s look at what Brunson said about complacency. It’s hard to imagine the Knicks as such, considering they’ve made the playoffs just three times in the last ten years. Being complacent usually surely requires some sustained success, right?

Maybe not in this case, especially with how the Knicks performed last season. Two years ago, they won 41 games on the way to being the No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference. Fans got excited last season too when New York surged to a 5-1 start.

The wheels then fell off. Randle stepped back after being named Most Improved Player, was moody all year, and was almost traded while the Knicks finished 37-45. Want to know why? Between Kemba Walker failing in New York and Derrick Rose suffering a season-ending injury four games in, the Knicks never had a proper point guard.

Four games into 2022-23 and the story is different. Randle is engaged again. Mitchell Robinson is healthy and focused along with the rest of the team. And all because there’s a proper point guard in the building.

Thus is the importance of Jalen Brunson to this team. He knows his role and trusts his teammates to score once he gets them the ball. And if Randle or Barrett has an off night? No problem. Brunson will put the team on his back and make shot after shot, from clutch threes to ugly turnaround jumpers.

No more are the Knicks the laughingstock of the NBA. That title belongs to either LeBron James and the aging Los Angeles Lakers or the soap opera that is the Brooklyn Nets.

Four games is early but mark it down. Thanks to Brunson, the Knicks are back.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.