The Dallas Mavericks lost Jalen Brunson in free agency this summer. They helped the 26-year-old go from a second-round pick to the team’s second-leading scorer. Brunson’s fourth-year breakout was impressive, and he proved himself in the postseason as the Mavs reached the conference finals.
Brunson joined the New York Knicks this offseason as he saw an opportunity to be coached by his father in an organization where he has strong family ties. The Mavericks had a chance to keep him, but the front office just made too many mistakes. The Knicks offered a four-year deal worth more than $100 million, and JB could not pass up playing in the Big Apple.
Brunson wanted the opportunity to be the lead ball-handler, which he was not going to have in Dallas playing next to Luka Doncic. Both were taken in the 2018 draft, and the two formed a close bond during their time with the Mavs. Brunson pulled no punches about playing with Luka and what he thinks about Doncic’s future.
Jalen Brunson has a sky-high prediction for Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic
Brunson did an interview with USA Today’s Sports Seriously where he was asked about playing with Doncic. See his response below.
"It wasn’t really difficult because you knew what it was. Luka is such a great talent. He can do anything on the court. Whether he wants to do it or not, he’s able to do it. I think, for me, I kind of figured out how to play with him because he’s so dominant. He knows how to play the game, and he knows how to help his team win."
Brunson continued by talking about how he changed his game to play next to Luka before saying this.
"I truly loved playing with him because we were in a position to win every night, because of him. So for me, I learned how to play off of him, and we are great friends so that obviously was a plus too. He’s special. I’ve said this numerous times, and I am going to continue to say it until I speak it into existence. That dude is a first ballot Hall of Famer."
JB is not wrong. Doncic is on that trajectory. He earned first-team All-NBA honors three straight years and is still only 23 years old. Dirk Nowitzki will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer next summer, and he only made first-team All-NBA four times. Luka needs the longevity aspect, but he is well on his way to being an inner circle Hall of Famer when his career is in the books.
Doncic just keeps getting better too. His defense will be better this season, and Luka has added a few new tricks into his offensive bag. The Dallas Mavericks superstar is the best shot creator in the NBA, and there will be improvements this season. Can number 77 lead the Mavs on another deep playoff run? Tune in to find out.