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Dallas Mavericks: Jalen Brunson could take a second year leap

Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Dallas Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson could be in line for a second-year leap. See why and what it means for the Mavs.

Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson exceeded expectations during his rookie season. He was a decorated college player but slipped to the second round of the 2018 draft. The Mavs were happy to grab him because they viewed him as a first round talent, but Brunson did not begin the year in the rotation.

He proved himself and earned additional minutes as the season went on. Over his final 31 games, Brunson averaged 13.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 28.9 minutes per. That sample included 28 starts from the rookie.

The 23-year-old was an efficient shooter for a first-year guard. Last season, he hit 46.7 percent from the field and 34.8 percent on his 3-pointers. Those numbers should only increase over the course of his career.

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Brunson capped it all off by being a member of the USA Basketball Select Team this summer. It was a massive honor for the young guard. He also improved his game playing against the countries best talents.

Second-year leap?

Brad Townsend sent out the following tweet on Sept. 25 that should provide fans a bit more excitement for the upcoming season.

The Mavericks have a talented roster. Luka Doncic slimmed down and improved his conditioning this summer. Kristaps Porzingis was healthy and working on his game too. Yet, Brunson is the one that was “most impressive”. The 23-year-old appears ready to take a step forward this season.

Impact on the rotation

The Mavs acquired Delon Wright in a sign-and-trade and inked him to a new three-year deal. Wright should still be pencilled in as the starter. Brunson will be battling for that job during training camp, though. Keep an eye on the second-year Maverick. If he impresses, Coach Carlisle may have to rethink his rotations.

Brunson leading the second unit puts into question if J.J. Barea can even crack the rotation this season. The 35-year-old may be headed for a similar role to the one that Devin Harris played last season.

The Mavs have plenty of guards expecting significant minutes. They signed Seth Curry this offseason. Tim Hardaway Jr. has played 30-plus the last two seasons in New York. Brunson getting 25 minutes per game would come at the expense of one of these other talents.

Coach Carlisle’s rotations are fluid at this point. He has the luxury of playing matchups this season if he desires. It will be something to keep an eye on throughout the year.

Jalen Brunson taking a leap would be an added bonus. He is a smart player that will continue to improve. Fans should be excited that he calls Dallas home. The team will need a few players to take steps forward to reach its goal of returning to the playoffs.

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