Amidst the struggles of the Dallas Mavericks this season, Jalen Brunson has emerged as one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He was able to showcase his talent on Christmas Day, producing 27 points and six assists while looking like Dallas’ best player.
This wasn’t the first time Brunson had played spectacular this season. In fact, he’s been one of the Mavs’ most important players to this point. Whether it’s in a bench role when the team is fully healthy or as a starter when a guard like Luka Doncic is out, Brunson has proven to fill any void and do what the team needs.
He’s also been one of the most consistent players for the Mavericks. During a season in which injuries have crippled the team’s ability to produce wins, Brunson has played in 31 games, tied for second most on the roster.
With this in mind, Brunson is in a contract season, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. As someone the Mavs need to have on their team to have success, they’ll have to sign him to a fairly significant deal to keep him in Dallas.
What does Brunson do to impact winning?
Brunson is a microwave scorer, producing 491 total points, second on the team to only Luka Doncic (538) this season. His 15.8 points per contest is third on the team, despite playing only 25 minutes per game.
He’s also knocked down 35 shots from beyond the arc this season, which is fourth on the Dallas roster.
What makes Brunson so special offensively is his passing. While many guys around the league can score, not many can also facilitate an offense and distribute the ball. Brunson’s 5.4 assists per game are second on the Mavs and top 35 in the entire NBA.
Over his last five games, Brunson has really hit a new gear. As he’s gotten more comfortable in a larger role with Doncic out, he’s been even better than normal.
Through these past five games, Brunson has averaged 23.4 points and 8.0 assists per game while shooting 40.7% from deep. While is a smaller sample size, these are NBA All-Star type numbers from the young guard.
The 25-year-old could easily be a full-time starter in Dallas and on many other teams around the league. In fact, Brunson thrives when he gets big minutes and starts games.
When he’s come off the bench this season, Brunson has averaged 12.0 points and 4.1 assists per game. As a starter, he’s produced 21.2 points and 7.1 assists per contest.
A consistent player, Brunson has played 948 minutes this season, good for second on the team. Being available to play has been one of the most important things for the Mavericks this season.
As he gets closer to free agency, Brunson just continues to get better offensively.
While Brunson isn’t an elite defender, he’s able to hold his own on that end of the floor. Despite being just 6-foot-1, Brunson is athletic and has a solid frame at 190 pounds.
Brunson’s defensive numbers don’t pop off page, but he truly does a solid job on that end of the floor. A large part of defense is having the right mentality and effort, which are both things Brunson has.
Additionally, he understands how important defense is to get the offensive side of the ball going.
“I think the best offense comes from great defense and run,” said Brunson last week. “That is the best offense. Not just for us, but around the league. If we are able to do that it kind of makes the game easier and simple. I don’t think we really have to dumb it down.”
Through the inconsistent season the Mavericks have experienced, Jalen Brunson has been a stabilizing player.