Devin Harris is expected to make his debut tonight but his return may ultimately be a progress-stopper for this promising rookie point guard.
When Jalen Brunson fell to Dallas near the top of the second round, the Mavericks pounced. Not expecting to see the former two-time National Champion and recent Player of the Year available, the Dallas Mavericks paid no mind to their current log-jam at guard.
You see the Mavs are loaded at guard. Aside from second year player, Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavs also have J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, and ball-handler extraordinaire, Luka Doncic (who technically plays a more fluid positionless role).
But Jalen Brunson was too good to pass up. Fans were critical of the move. His diminutive size (listed generously by ESPN as 6’3” 190lbs) coupled with the Dallas Mavericks other needs at other positions, made this feel like a wasted pick on a low-potential back-up.
But now coming off one of his best games as a pro, Brunson is winning some of those critical MFFL over.
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Against the Utah Jazz, Brunson put up 11 points, two boards, and two assists in just 16 minutes. Some of his impact came a critical time late in the game when the Mavs needed a turn-around. In 31 seconds Brunson stole a pass, hit a lay-up, and drained a three. Dallas untimely lost but Brunson turned things around and gave the team a chance at a time there appeared no chance.
That just built on Jalen’s season averages 11 games into the season. Brunson is averaging a respectable 14 minutes per game with 4.8 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. As a reserve, Brunson is a leader on the court and growing by the day. All of that may change with Devin Harris’ return.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Devin Harris. Even at the age of 35 he has something to offer. But not if it comes at the expense of Brunson.
Jalen Brunson may never be the starting point guard on a championship caliber NBA team, but he sure could play a significant role. His experience, intangibles, and early returns suggest he could be a nice replacement one day to J.J. Barea on the second team.
But in order to do that, he needs to get experience.
If Devin and Jalen were the same age, I’d give the edge to Devin. But alas they are not the same age. The Dallas Mavericks are 3-8 and going nowhere fast. The time to develop young talent is now. Dorian Finney-Smith needs a chunk of Wesley Matthews’ minutes just like Jalen Brunson needs Harris’ time on the court.
Devin Harris needs a role on this team but the way Jalen Brunson’s playing, Harris’ time can’t come at the expense of Brunson.
- Published on 11/10/2018 at 14:01 PM
- Last updated at 11/10/2018 at 13:50 PM