Dallas Mavericks: Grading Jalen Brunson’s 2019-2020 season

Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Mavericks, Jalen Brunson
Dallas Mavericks Jalen Brunson (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /


Defense is the problem area for Jalen Brunson. He averaged 2.4 rebounds, 0.4 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game this season. The rebounding rate is on par for a point guard, but the steals are well below average.

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The advanced metrics were not better. Brunson had 0.7 defensive win shares which ranked 246th in the NBA. His negative 0.9 defensive box score plus-minus was 354th. Brunson also finished 289th in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus.

It is always difficult to grade a player’s defense. Brunson has his moments on this end of the floor. It is not like teams are targeting him the second he steps on the floor.

The defensive effort is there. Brunson is 6’1 and struggles in certain matchups. Brunson does not play so badly that it eliminates him from the rotation. Coach Carlisle tries to create favorable matchups for JB. The Mavs often put him out there with Delon Wright or Dorian Finney-Smith. That allows Brunson an easier matchup as they guard the opponent’s best scorer.

Defensive grade: D+

Jalen Brunson was a below-average defender this season by every advanced metric. If C is an average grade, he had to be under that. Brunson has work to do on the defensive end.

Next: Overall grade