NBA Trades: Why the Knicks should not trade for Jalen Brunson

NBA Trades: Why the Knicks should not trade for Jalen Brunson

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 31: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center on December 31, 2021 in Sacramento, California, NBA Trades: Why the Knicks should not trade for Jalen Brunson. NBA Trades, NBA Trades, NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

There is a perception that Dallas Mavericks’ guard Jalen Brunson is a top trade target for the New York Knicks. Marc Burman of the New York Post stated on January 15th that the Knicks desperately want to acquire Brunson from the Mavericks.

NBA Trades: Why the Knicks should not trade for Jalen Brunson

But is he a good fit for the team? Yes and no.

Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, currently uses point guards as pick and roll ball handlers and floor-spacers. For instance, current starting point guard Kemba Walker has spent 52.5 percent of his possessions as a pick and roll ball handler, averaging seven per game in 27 appearances.

When Walker isn’t in the role of pick and roll ball-handler, he is usually standing behind the arc as a floor-spacer, as he has taken 52.8 percent of his shots from behind the arc this season, averaging 5.9 per game.

Walker isn’t the only point guard that Thibodeau has used in this fashion, as backup point guard Derrick Rose has been used similarly. Rose has spent 39.8 percent of his possessions as a pick and roll ball handler, averaging 5.6 per game in 26 appearances. Rose has also taken a career-high 33.6 percent of his shots from behind the arc, averaging 3.5 per game.

Fortunately for the Knicks, Brunson has excelled in both areas. Brunson has spent 33 percent of his possessions in the pick and roll during his first three-plus seasons, averaging 3.8 per game.

He has been efficient in the role, shooting 50.5 percent on three shots per game. The field goal percentage has helped him average 3.8 points per game in the pick and roll – 33 percent of his production.

Unfortunately, Brunson has been a below-average three-point shooter, with the exception of one season. He shot 40.5 percent on 2.9 attempts per game during the 2020-21 season. If we remove that season, he is shooting 34.6 percent on 2.5 attempts per game.

Consequently, Brunson will both help and hurt the Knicks at the current moment. Brunson would significantly boost the team’s offense as they are currently inefficient in the pick and roll.

New York is ranked 27th in pick and roll field goal percentage through 48 games, shooting 38.9 percent on 17.6 shots per game. The pick-and-roll inefficiency has hindered the productivity of the team’s guards.

Jalen Brunson does not make sense for the New York Knicks right now

Although Brunson would improve the team’s pick-and-roll offense, he would likely hinder their shooting. Knick guards are currently third in three-point percentage, shooting 37.4 percent on 28.7 attempts per game.

Walker has been an integral part of the team’s success, accounting for at least 20 percent of their field goals made (shooting 39.2 percent) and attempted. However, the point guard position isn’t the only problem with the Knicks.

The New York Knicks also struggle offensively from the forward and center positions. Their forwards are currently 17th in field goal percentage, converting 45.9 percent of their shots on 52.5 attempts.

Their centers are in a similar situation, shooting only 49.3 percent from the field, which is 21st in the league. Therefore, it is unwise for the Knicks to trade for Brunson right now, considering the asking price.

SI suggested that the teams trade an important rotation to acquire Brunson from the Mavericks. Dalton Trigg of SI stated that the Boston Celtics would have to include Marcus Smart in a deal. Brunson’s hypothetical asking price is too big, considering that the Knicks have more problems than just the point guard position.

More importantly, after this season, Brunson is an unrestricted free agent. Therefore, the Knicks would be better off keeping their current assets and trying to sign him over the summer.