Jalen Brunson, now a two-time national champion, was the College National Player of the Year and has improved his draft stock this season.
Sean Deveney spoke with an NBA general manager about the 6-foot-2 guard, who will likely enter the 2018 draft (via Sporting News):
“Brunson doesn’t have great size, as we all know but he can score, he can shoot, he could be a leader on your second unit. His dad stuck around a long time because he worked hard and was smart enough to find his role wherever he was. Jalen can probably do better than that. He’s probably an early second-rounder, but I could see him going late first.”
His father, mentioned by the general manager, is Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Rick Brunson.
He was also an assistant coach under head coach Tom Thibodeau, the president of basketball operations for the team, with the Chicago Bulls.
While the Timberwolves will not have their own first-round pick assuming they make the postseason, they will likely have the rights to the first-rounder from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
This pick would likely be around No. 24 overall, just four spots ahead of where Brunson falls in the latest projection from NBADraft.net.
Minnesota already has two viable point guards in Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones. But aside from Teague and Jones, the team’s other options – Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks – will likely be gone next season.
Jonathan Tjarks believes Brunson, who averaged 18.9 points per game this year, can make a significant impact at the next level (via The Ringer):
“Brunson has one of the highest floors of anyone in this year’s draft, and his ceiling might not be that low, either. Fred VanVleet went from college star to undrafted free agent to playoff X-factor in two years. Jalen Brunson could be on the same path. He won’t be a draft sleeper much longer.”
When the Timberwolves are on the clock, he could be a wise pick for Minnesota if he’s still available.
Much like VanVleet, who does not have a starting role with the Toronto Raptors, he could still make a difference even coming off the bench for a while.
It’s worth noting that the 29-year-old Teague is not necessarily a long-term solution and the team does not have another option besides Jones if the veteran eventually finds a new home.