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'We Can Rely on Him': Brunson & Doncic New Mavs Starting Backcourt, Says Kidd

Jalen Brunson made a big leap with the Dallas Mavericks while Luka Doncic was out. Now, Jason Kidd says Doncic and Brunson will be his starting backcourt for the foreseeable future.

Fourth-year guard Jalen Brunson made a big leap with the Dallas Mavericks when superstar Luka Doncic recently missed 10 games due to an ankle injury and being in the NBA's COVID protocols. During that span, Brunson averaged 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds per game while shooting 51 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range.

We told you why Brunson needed to become a full-time starter when Doncic returned, and now, it looks like that's exactly what's happening before our very eyes.

"Yeah, you could probably say that," said head coach Jason Kidd when asked if it was it was 'pretty much a given' that Doncic and Brunson would be his starting backcourt for the foreseeable future. "It's something that we want to look at."

Kidd got a really good look at it on Sunday night, as the Mavs took down the Oklahoma City Thunder in Doncic's return to action. Although Doncic and Brunson only scored 14 and 12 points respectively, they accounted for 17 of the Mavs' 28 assists. On the season, Brunson has a 3.44 assist-to-turnover ratio. That's not quite as elite as Chris Paul's 4.37 assist-to-turnover ratio, but it is very good nonetheless.

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Doncic, who was wearing a brace on his left knee against the Thunder on Sunday night, was rusty on the offensive end of the floor. He only made six of his 14 shots and turned the ball over seven times. Despite that, though, Kidd believes Doncic did well coming back from the longest injury absence of his young career.

"He almost had a triple-double in 30 minutes, so I think he did a great job," said Kidd. "He's still trying to get the feel. ... I just kept asking how was his wind and he said he felt great. It was good to see him out there."

We've long said that the Mavs needed another elite playmaker next to Doncic, and despite Dallas missing out on opportunities to make that happen in trades or free agency, perhaps Brunson has finally provided an in-house fix to that issue.

"Seventeen assists total for (Doncic and Brunson), so I thought they played well together," said Kidd. "Jalen, (with) his pace, I thought he made some big shots for us on the offensive end. He's someone we can rely on."

For the last three and a half seasons, the only player on the roster the Mavs could truly rely on consistently was Doncic, but that has apparently now changed, according to Kidd. Although Doncic will continue to be the undisputed No. 1 option for Dallas, the continued growth of Brunson will help the team out immensely going forward, both in the immediate and, hopefully, long-term future.