The Kristaps Porzingis business benefits Jalen Brunson in big ways

The Kristaps Porzingis trade was seen as a temporary step back to take a step forward later. Any hope of preventing this step backwards was rooted in the belief that Luka Doncic’ could flourish further by turning on a historical utilization rate in heliocentric crime. Luka already has the ninth highest usage rate in NBA history this season with an usage rate of 37.1 percent. That includes a 47.3 percent use rate since the Porzingis trade was announced.

This is not sustainable. The record for one-season use rate is 41.7 percent set by Russell Westbrook in his MVP season. James Harden is the only other person with a usage rate above 40 percent, and that was in 2018-19. But Luka isn’t the only one who has benefited from an obvious role and additional use since the trade.

Porzingis played their last game in Dallas on January 29 against the Indiana Pacers. The Mavericks have played 9 games since then. They played 50 matches before that. Of those 50 matches, Jalen Bronson played 49. In those 49 games, Bronson averaged 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 50.1% shooting from the field and 34.0% shooting from three. Perhaps most importantly, he only took 2.9 three attempt points per game. He did all this in 31.3 minutes per match with +2.4 plus/minus.

In the 9 games since then, Bronson has increased his minutes to 36.1 minutes per game which is a star zone. He averaged 19.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He’s hit 51.2 percent from the field, 48.7 percent from three and hit 4.3 three-pointers per game. His plus minus nearly doubled to +4.6 per game.

Bronson’s use and thus his game changed without Porsenges. Bronson is still a secondary playmaker, attacking the defenses Luca has already bent to his will. But its primary use now is the second choice for registration after Luka. The most important development for this role is to improve his jump.

In general, increases in volume lead to decreases in efficiency. Bronson was able to dramatically improve his efficiency while increasing his attempts by more than 50 percent per game. The result was a significant improvement in scoring and consistency in scoring. Bronson has scored 19 or more points in seven of his nine games since Porsenges last played. He has done so in 13 of the 49 matches he has played. Five of the previous 13 also occurred with Porzingis not playing.

What does this mean going forward? Jalen Bronson will get paid. Bronson differs from the majority of smaller scorekeepers because of the efficiency with which he scores. Improving his shot has increased that efficiency. Bronson has a real shot percentage of 62.4 percent since he last played the Porsenges. Bronson took a 3.6 hit and shot triples during this time and made it an amazing 56.3 percent. Before these games, he was taking only 1.9 per game. Bronson fired just 27.4 percent of three while sharing the floor with Porsenges this season. He’s paid 42.4 percent of the three without pursences.

The match against the Miami Heat was an excellent example of Brunson’s game being recalibrated. In his first 49 games, Bronson was 13 to 33 in the treble. In the last 9 matches, Bronson was 14 years old vs 22 years old. The plays above show why he’s done and made more of these looks. Spencer Dinwiddie came into the trade and was started by Josh Green. Both of these players are first players. It was clear that Porsenges was the first player in the score. Porzingis likely hit the ball in the situation where Dinwiddie and Green passed to Brunson. And of course Luka is the best three-corner maker in the NBA. Brunson now has the opportunity to get a corner threes with the help of all three.

The Mavericks had been searching for Luca’s companion since his arrival. They also searched for the right goalkeeper to play with Luca. He was the perfect person to handle both roles here the entire time. He simply had to be given a chance and play the right role. The Porzingis trade put him in this role and the Mavericks were reaping the benefits.