Jalen Brunson has officially signed with the Dallas Mavericks. The deal is for four-years with only three guaranteed, according to Yahoo!’s Shams Charania. Brunson will make an estimated $1.5 million his rookie season.
Drafted in the second round with the 33rd overall pick, the Mavericks raved about Brunson falling to them. They expected the former Villanova starting point guard to be off the board in the first round, especially because he helped win two NCAA national championships in his three seasons with the Wildcats.
“The guy is a proven winner,” Mavericks assistant vice president Michael Finley said on draft night. “He’s won on every level, high school to college. That winning trait that he has, that type of attitude is what made us more attracted to him to come to this franchise and be a part of our winning tradition—to start back our winning tradition. I think he has the traits to be a part of that.”
More recently, Brunson suited up and started each of the Mavs’ Summer League games. IN Vegas, he averaged 6.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.2 steals. While he was adept at finding teammates, he couldn’t get his shot to fall. He only knocked down 22.7 percent of his attempts and 30 percent of his 3-point shots. Despite his struggles, Brunson remained positive.
“I feel like I’m definitely moving in the right direction,” Brunson said. “It’s just my confidence. I know how hard I work. I’m not going to let a couple of shots not going in alter that. I got to keep shooting and stay confident.”
As a junior at Villanova, he averaged 18.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. He was also named the National College Player of the Year, Big East Player of the Year, Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year, and the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard. Listed at 6-foot-3, Brunson adds a pass-first ball handler to the Mavericks’ point guard depth chart that already includes Dennis Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea.
“We feel that Brunson is a guy that would fit in with any team,” head coach Rick Carlisle said after the team drafted Brunson. “He’s also a leader. He was the leader of that team that won two championships in three years. Those kinds of characteristics are really important when you’re in a rebuild. You’re trying to make the climb. Winning games in the NBA is not easy.”