Prospect Preview: Jalen Brunson

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

JALEN BRUNSON, G, VILLANOVA
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-foot-3
Wt: 190 pounds
2017-18 Stats: 18.9 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.1 rpg

HOW HE OPERATES
There is no prospect in this NBA draft more decorated than Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson. He was…

- The Consensus National Player of the Year (Associated Press, John R. Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, The Sporting News, U.S. Basketball Writers Association Oscar Robertson Trophy)

- The NCAA East Region Most Outstanding Player

- Named to the NCAA Final Four All-tournament Team

- A Second-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American

- Named the Bob Cousy Award (nation’s best point guard) winner

- The Big East Player of the Year

- The Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year

- The Philadelphia Big Five Player of the Year

- The Philadelphia Big Five Scholar Athlete of the Year

Simply, there was nothing he could not do on the basketball court. The only thing holding Brunson down from being a lottery level pick is his height – 6-2 with shoes; and length, 6-4. Outside of that, Brunson has every tool to be a big-time leader in the NBA. The list of awards above illuminate Brunson’s playing ability, but also a high IQ as well. Houston’s Chris Paul and Detroit’s Jameer Nelson are two similar-sized point guards that illustrate he can be effective despite not having stilts for legs.

Offensively, he excelled in every area and was one of the most efficient shooters in the country. Brunson shot 52 percent as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll; 57 percent in transition; 41 percent in spot-up shooting; 54 percent in isolation; 62 percent in post-ups; 50 percent off screens; and 55 percent in dribble hand-off action. Not much more needs to be said here.

Defensively, his low center of gravity helped get him through many screens, and he worked hard to not been picked off. Brunson was a high-level defender from an energy and footwork standpoint. He stayed with nearly every ball handler looking to drive to the rim. He was almost never overpowered, and in fact was able to throw his weight around in helping him gain the upper hand in defending on the perimeter. He is not a huge steals player. Brunson is best in fitting into a team defensive scheme.

HIS BEST FIT

A team looking for immediate help at reserve point guard can put Brunson on the floor right now and expect positive returns. If that team has rim protection behind him, that would be even better. A team also in search of maturity in the locker room and poise on the court is an ideal match for Brunson, who plays with calm through the most pressurized moments.

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter

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