JALEN BRUNSON 2018 NBA Draft Scouting Report
WEIGHT: 200 POUNDS
POSITION: POINT GUARD
PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION: EARLY 2ND ROUND
Oklahoma point guard Trae Young might be the most talked-about player in college basketball this year. Duke’s Marvin Bagley III or Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton might be the first college basketball player taken in the 2018 NBA Draft. But you could make an increasingly convincing argument that Villanova University guard Jalen Brunson is the best college basketball player in the nation today.
In a nutshell, Brunson is a true floor general, demonstrating the ability to set the table for his teammates, create offense for himself or the other four guys he’s playing with, and shoot the ball all the way out to the three-point line. Everyone raves about his basketball IQ and feel for the game, with certain people close to college basketball calling him one of the smartest college basketball players in the nation.
And it’s not like Brunson doesn’t have the statistics to back up those accolades. In 32 minutes per game this season, he’s averaging over 19 points and just under five assists per game, while shooting over 52.6% from the field, including over 40% from the field. Playing on team full of tough and talented players accumulated by head coach Jay Wright, Brunson was the guy whom the team looked towards when they need a big bucket, or someone to do bail the team out in general.
He’s smart, efficient, productive, he’s a solid defender, and is fundamentally sound as a basketball player. The junior is the rare college player who shoots at least 80% from the free throw line, and most importantly, he’s a humble leader whom almost everyone can’t stop gushing about. If you wanted to design a basketball player from scratch, Brunson is basically 90% of the template you’d want to draw from.
And yet, basketball history is littered with guards who were legends at the collegiate level, but not quite good enough to succeed as a professional. As much as we don’t want to define a player by the measurables, it’s really hard for a player without the requisite size and athleticism to succeed in the NBA. That’s why we see so many players drafted more because of their potential, instead of their previous production.
At 6’2 and 200lbs, Brunson doesn’t have the size you’re looking for from a starting guard in the pro’s, and he’s not explosive enough to overcome that lack of size. For as good as he’s been at the collegiate level, scouts are going to hold that lack of upside against him — wondering whether he’s already maximized his physical potential — come draft time.
The truth is, if you could somehow take every single component of Brunson’s basketball game and his intangibles, and put it into someone who had the size of a Markelle Fultz (the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft), you’d easily be looking at the front-runner for the top overall pick in this year’s draft. But that’s unfortunately not how this story ends.
As of right now, Brunson projects to have a Jameer Nelson-type of career: a player who brings a bit more to the locker room and the team culture than he does to the professional basketball court.
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF JALEN BRUNSON
Is Jalen Brunson a future starting point guard in the NBA?
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