Jalen Brunson: Your Ideal Back Up Point Guard

Allen Pettigrew

There’s nothing more common than a rookie point guards learning curve. Whether they’re one and done or a 4-year starter at a national powerhouse they’ll all experience it. Russell Westbrook had his moments, John Wall had his struggles, even Hall of Famers Steve Nash and Jason Kidd had rough outings.

As the speed of the game increases it becomes more about solidifying the little things and no rookie point guard understands that more than Jalen Brunson. As a son of a former NBA journeyman, he knows what it takes to be a glue guy for a team. Their relationship has been highly documented since the younger Brunson’s days in Villanova. What he does on the court is a direct correlation and inspiration he gained from his father’s NBA tenure.

Brunson’s countless hours in the gym have put him in the position to thrive in the NBA. As a second round pick, he’s done just that as a backup point guard.

Brunson is a seamless fit on this Dallas Mavericks roster. He’s been a staple in their roster since the first tip of the season against the Suns. To this point, he’s averaging nearly 17 minutes a game.

He’s played in 31 of Dallas’ 37 games gaining the starting nod in 9 of them. He’s received coach’s decisions DNPs on those six games. Those choices may have been stem from his poor shooting splits (.449/.275/.611) that would hurt the team in close games or another yet to be disclosed reason.

Those shooting woes haven’t stopped him from being a valuable member of the Mavericks. When the backcourt rotation became bogged down with injuries Brunson did his best to stand in for Dennis Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea. It nearly tripled Brunson’s the 8.4 minutes he played in November to the 23.2 minutes he played in December. In that extra time, his turnover to assist ratio doubled leading the Mavs in that category at 2.6.

Brunson’s impact elevates the Mavericks’ offense even though his best attribute is his ability to minimize errors. That quality does wonders for the team decreasing turnover percentage 17 percent to 15.2. He’s also a part of a few of the Mavericks highest rated offensive lineups.

Brunson has become a low-risk high reward gem that 29 other teams would love to have. He plays like a vet and has more championship experience than all but 4 of the guys on the Mavs roster even if it was in college. What makes his opportunity even better is that he has 2 experienced lead guards to teach him the ropes.