Jalen Brunson, the steal of the 2018 draft, ended up being a great pick at an even better value for the Dallas Mavericks this past season.
After perhaps being snubbed on an all-rookie team, the Villanova alum is finally getting the recognition all Dallas Mavericks fans feel he deserves. No one ever claimed Jalen Brunson was a Blake Griffin-like highlight reel during his rookie campaign, nor was he anywhere similar to former Rookie of the Year, Derrick Rose . However, Jalen was nothing short of a solid starting point guard when he acquired the opportunity to do so.
One of the reasons it feels good to have found the diamond-in-the-rough type player in Brunson, is because of all the Dennis Smith Jr. drama. Most fans (myself included) wondered who would start at the point guard position for the rest of the season.
Of course, before the unforgettable trade that netted the Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis, Jalen Brunson proved to be somewhat efficient when coming off of the bench to contribute. However, it was not until he became a starter that he really started to shine.
From pre-All-Star to post-All-Star break, the 22 year-old rookie more than doubled his points per game and was .2 assists per night away from doubling that category as well. His efficiency, production, and basketball IQ in general all seemed to increase when he earned the starting role with the Mavs.
Brunson does plenty of things well. He’s an efficient guard that really accepts and understands his role within the offense next to Luka Doncic. Something I personally love about Brunson is that he does not take a lot of bad shots and does a phenomenal job of taking care of the ball. His AST/TO ratio outmatched point guards such as Damian Lillard, De’Aaron Fox, and Eric Bledsoe.
With that being said, I have developed a formula to show a player’s raw production for their team. This formula calculates how often a players scores, assists, or provides their respective team with an additional possession (steal, rebound, etc.) versus how often they give the ball away (turnover, foul, missed shot, etc). I have found the NBA average to be an estimated 15.0, similar to the player efficiency rating.
Before the all-star break, Brunson tallied a 9.8 in this category making his contributions to the team a little below average. This is to be expected when you consider it would be difficult to contribute as much off the bench. After the break, his score more than doubled all the way to an impressive 21.2. This figure is on par with players such as Ricky Rubio and Lonzo Ball, for reference.
At the commencement of free agency on June 30th, plenty of fan’s first request was a major move in acquiring a point guard. Kemba Walker was a name thrown around frequently leading up to the aforementioned date but I believe it’s safe to say Jalen Brunson is an above-average point guard that could benefit just about any other of the twenty-nine NBA teams. I’m just happy he’s going to be in a Mavericks uniform come October 23rd.