Mavs' 'other' second-year guard Brunson is blossoming - but now has a hamstring issue

Mavs' 'other' second-year guard Brunson is blossoming - but now has a hamstring issue

DALLAS - Guard Jalen Brunson is emerging as a rotation player with a bullet for the Dallas Mavericks - but he's now also emerging from the weekend with a hamstring problem.

“Brunson had a little bit of a thing last week,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “It just was the tightness and he just felt it again. The hope is it’s just a little tightness that can be worked out.”

The Mavs also say forward Dorian Finney-Smith is day-to-day with a hip flexor. Both sat out Saturday’s practice session, joining Dwight Powell, who has a hamstring issue that will keep him out of the entirety of the preseason.

The Mavs are 0-3 this preseason following Friday’s 118-111 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The first-team star of the backcourt was second-year man Luka Doncic, of course, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year. But his 2018 NBA Draft classmate Brunson, a steal in the second round, stole the show in the second half of the game. Brunson finished shooting 5-of-7 from the field for 12 points with four assists in only 12 minutes of action.

“He played well,” Carlisle said. “He just continues to work and improve and get better really in all areas. It’s good to see.”

Doncic and newcomer Delon Wright figure to be Dallas' starting backcourt. Another vet new to the team, Seth Curry, gets a lot of attention as a guard with scoring prowess. And J.J, Barea, who returned to the court on Friday nine months to the day after tearing his Achilles, is a constant. But somewhere in Dallas' rotation, it's becoming clear that Brunson needs to be accounted for.

“I just go out whenever my number is called and my name is called,” said Brunson, who last year averaged 9.3 points and 3.2 assists in 22 minutes per game. “I go out there and play as hard as I can. There’s no reason to get ready if you stay ready. So I just mentally prepare myself for anything.”