Jonesing for Jalen
You want a deep dive on the player the Knicks are pining after? You got it.
Good morning! No preamble today. This will probably be the most important offseason newsletter I write. Let’s get right to it.
Jonesing for Jalen
Full disclosure before we get into the numbers and the film on Jalen Brunson: while yesterday’s newsletter perhaps had a slightly negative bent towards the idea of going all in on the Dallas guard, today’s is going to sing a very different tune. If you haven’t been on the Brunson train, brace yourself. If you have been on board, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
And that ride, oooooo boy…is it something to behold when this guy gets in a groove:
With all due respect to Brooklyn’s implosion, Boston’s emergence, Philly’s potential collapse, the end of the Mitchell/Gobert era in Utah, the wild Minny/Memphis series, and of course those pesky Pelicans, Jalen Brunson dominating the Jazz has been the biggest story of the first round. He is displaying an arsenal of ball-handling, moves and shots that have put Utah’s players in a literal spin cycle. They know what’s coming. And they still cannot stop it.
Going into last night’s games, Brunson had more points than anyone in the postseason. He is averaging 28.6 points with a .477/.345/.879 slash line, 4.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds. The Mavs have a 121.9 offensive rating (and a solid 109.6 defensive rating) with Brunson on the court through five postseason games. That number is the highest of any player averaging over 30 minutes a night who doesn’t play for the Warriors or Celtics.
The reason this should be considered the biggest story of the playoffs is because Brunson isn’t emerging from nowhere with an unsustainable hot streak. Before he put up 24, 41 and 31 points in three games without Luka Doncic to start this series, Brunson played 17 regular season games this year without the Mavs’ golden boy. In those games, he averaged 20.4 points and 7.5 assists on 49.3 percent shooting overall and 35 percent from deep. No player in the NBA put up those numbers over the course of the full season, while only four players averaged 20 & 7: LaMelo Ball, Darius Garland, Trae Young, and Mr. Doncic himself.
All of them were All-Stars this year.
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