The Dallas Mavericks got a great performance from Jalen Brunson on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Will this game jumpstart his season?
When the Dallas Mavericks drafted Jalen Brunson in the 2018 NBA Draft, they knew they had gotten a sweet deal in the second round. Brunson was one of the most successful college basketball players in recent memory and had proven that he was a winner in every sense of the word. Yet people passed on him for one reason or another.
In his first season with the Mavs, Brunson showed obvious signs of becoming an important rotation piece. Dallas has had a point guard complex for years with more guards than minutes available and it has been that way again this year with the additions of Delon Wright and Seth Curry to go with Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson and J.J. Barea.
The excess number of guards has caused Brunson to lose out on some minutes this year. This is also partially because he hasn’t been playing particularly well so far. It is actually kind of surprising how long it took him to have a big performance this year, considering how good he was last year and how much work he put in this summer.
Brunson played only 18 minutes in the game against the Timberwolves, but he made every minute count. Jalen scored 16 points in that time, a new season high and the most points he has scored in his career when coming off the bench. The most important part about those 16 points, however, was the timing.
Jalen’s first bucket came with a minute left in the first quarter. His next bucket (and five more after that) all took place with 9 minutes and 30 seconds left in the fourth. His second made field goal tied the game at 86-86. His third tied it at 91-91. His fourth gave the Mavs a 94-93 lead, the last lead change of the game. His final assist gave the Mavs a double-digit lead with less than three minutes to play.
Brunson was the best player on the court when it mattered most. This isn’t something Rick Carlisle expects from him every night, but JB is one of the only players on the Mavs roster that has the confidence and poise to be that guy when it is needed. Luka can do it, Kristaps Porzingis is certainly capable of doing it and we know Barea is still able to do those things, but the list is short.
This performance reminded Mavs fans just how good Brunson can be and what he brings to the team. It may not be consistent for a little while as rotations are still in the works, but there is no doubt that Jalen Brunson will be making big plays for the Mavs many more times this season and in the seasons to come.