Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson is not the first to take this leap
In years past, the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year has steered towards “best bench scorer from a top-seeded team” but Brunson’s making a case with his play this season.
What’s left to see as his career progresses is if he can go beyond his role and break the glass ceiling for himself as a smaller sharp shooting do-it-all guard.
The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks outlined Fred VanVleet as a player comparison for Brunson back in 2018 that’s so apt to reiterate now.
VanVleet in five seasons has gone from undrafted undersized guard to G-league standout to rotation player to starting shoot guard to borderline All-Star. In his third season, FVV averaged 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 0.9 steals on 41.0 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from three. All in 27.5 minutes per game.
Brunson’s game has adapted the longer he’s been in the league (more layups, jumpers, more threes), but the comparison still holds weight. The 24-year-old’s shooting should provide stellar spacing and his ever-developing passing game will continue to buckle defenses so he can pullup or drive.
Fred VanVleet is the blueprint that Jalen Brunson can model his game after and forge a path for continued success.
Next: Looking ahead