Should the Pistons consider signing Jalen Brunson?
According to reports from James Edwards III of The Athletic, the Pistons have apparent interest in Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson, a 25 year old guard out of Villanova, was a second round pick in 2018. And in his fourth season with Dallas, he is beginning to show exactly what kind of player he can be. Brunson is averaging a career high 16.3 points shooting an efficient 50.2 percent from the field. In addition, Brunson has shown he can create shots for others with 4.8 assists per game. And there is no better time for a player who is having their best season to be an unrestricted free agent. With that looming freedom, it’s apparent to see why Detroit would be eager to inquire about Brunson’s services.
Naturally, when hearing about the Pistons reported interest, the first question is what is the fit for Jalen Brunson? How would he impact the Pistons and where would he fit in the rotation? And how much of that salary cap would Brunson require? In this article, let’s look at Jalen Brunson’s fit on Detroit’s roster. In my personal opinion, the basketball fit that Jalen Brunson provides is tantalizing, and the combination of Cunningham and Brunson could potentially be devastating.
Jalen Brunson could solve a lot of the Pistons problems
When evaluating the fit of Jalen Brunson with the Detroit Pistons, it begins and ends with looking at his role with the Mavericks. Jalen Brunson can come to the Pistons and have almost the exact same impact. And the reason why is because Cade Cunningham’s style of play is so similar to that of Luka Doncic. Both are ball dominant point forwards who can facilitate and create shots for their teammates. And Brunson being a playmaking shot creator who can make his own offense, they would work very well together.
In addition, one of the Pistons biggest positional needs is a guard who can score. And if this year and even this playoff run has shown anything, Jalen Brunson can score. Earlier this week, Brunson finished with 41 points on an efficient 15-25 from the field. Luka Doncic has missed both games one and two with a left calf strain, but that was not a problem. Dallas won game two on the heels of Brunson’s dominant scoring attack. And in addition, Brunson contributed 5 assists 8 rebounds and 2 steals as well. It was his best game as a pro, and it could not have come at a better time for the Mavericks and for Brunson himself.
Jalen Brunson is currently playing way above his contract, but is he worth high dollars?
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, Jalen Brunson is currently outperforming his contract by 29.7 million dollars this season. And with him hitting the unrestricted free agency market this summer, he could command a high salary contract from Dallas, Detroit, and other teams with cap space. One player that is often compared to Jalen Brunson is Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who plays a very similar role for the Raptors. VanVleet is currently making 21 million dollars a year, which is not an unfair price for Brunson’s services.
There is the concern that this is the first year that Jalen Brunson has played at this level, and questions can be asked on if he can repeat this success. However, guys who can create shots for himself and for others, and also can be an additional ball handler is going to be hard to pass up on for the Pistons. Even though Killian Hayes has improved as the season has gone on and he brings more upside on the defensive end, he does not match the efficiency and the offensive output of Brunson.
Is Jalen Brunson worth 20 million dollars a year?
Although it would be difficult to predict if a player’s contract is worth its weight and gold before it actually plays out, the production Brunson currently brings is certainly in that 20 million dollar range. And if the Pistons were to push for him, it’s apparent they would be getting one of the more efficient and productive scoring guards in the league. The Mavericks will more than likely try everything that they can to keep him in Dallas. However, where Detroit can come into the picture is with that available cap space they have.
Jalen Brunson fits the mold of a Troy Weaver player, and he would be a great addition for the Pistons if that is the route they choose to go. The potential of Brunson along with Saddiq Bey and Cade Cunningham, paired with another lottery pick this summer is the shaping of a young core. Specifically, a young core that is built first with defense in mind, and then also has shooting and shot creators around the court. It could be a piece that Detroit cashes in some of their open cap space, but also could just be a player that fits the mold of where the Pistons are going in the future. Contemplating adding talent like Jalen Brunson is certainly a good problem to have.