'Never Satisfied': Mavs Guard Jalen Brunson on His Role - And His Goal

Steven Kilpatrick

DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks feature a logjam of perimeter guys who are at their best with the ball in their hands. In fact, even as Delon Wright works through an injury, the backcourt logjam carries on ... and Jalen Brunson is very, very cool with it.

 “The best part about (Dallas') depth,'' the second-year man says,"is I feel like a lot of us are really starting to jell together and our chemistry’s becoming really special."

It must be so, for while obviously The King of the Logjam is Luka Doncic, and while obviously it trickles down from there, it would be easy to argue to Brunson holding a higher position on the totem pole.

Yet consider: Against the Lakers last Sunday and New Orleans on Tuesday, Jalen had a combined 16 minutes on the floor. That was enough for four points, two rebounds and three assists in two games.

But, later in the week, when the Mavericks needed him against Minnesota, Brunson played like a starter. He was 7-of-8 from the floor, had four boards, three assists, and 16 points in 18 minutes to help the Mavericks come back from a double-digit deficit and register a victory as Dallas remains perched in the top half of the NBA West.

So is Brunson pitching for more time as Dallas travels today to Mexico City to play against the Detroit Pistons? Not exactly.

"It starts with our personnel,'' he said of the qualities of the 16-7 Mavs. "We have a lot of high-character guys who really want to win. We have

a lot of guys who have won in the past as well. With that mixture that we have, we know what we need to do and we know what we want to accomplish. We just can’t be satisfied. We have to keep getting better.''

Brunson is certainly doing so, even as Luka, Tim Hardaway Jr., Wright, Seth Curry and even Courtney Lee have occupied some backcourt minutes. That's not indicated in every stat line, of course; he averaged 9.3 points per game last year closing as a starter on a bad team, but is at 7.5 per this year playing a spotty 16 minutes per.

No, it's about attitude. Coach Rick Carlisle pronounced Jalen to be "a real pro'' as soon as he arrived here as a 2018 rookie second-rounder. And while it was a funny thing to say about a just-off-campus college kid, it fit the Villanova product. He acted the part then. He still does.

“My mindset just never changes,'' Brunson said of his role. "It’s always preparing the same way I always do. I thank coach Carlisle for having some trust in me.''