Would the San Antonio Spurs have been better off drafting Jalen Brunson?
Jalen Brunson's slide into the second round stood out in the immediate aftermath of the draft and it doesn't look any better with age. The 2018 National Player of the Year and two-time NCAA champion went to Dallas with the 33rd pick and the Mavericks have been thanking the universe for their good fortune ever since.
Brunson has been an important contributor in Dallas for the last three seasons but his impact this year has gone far and above what he has done in the past. Brunson has done a masterful job filling in for Luka Doncic as the Mavericks lead ball-handler as Doncic works his way back from an ankle injury that has been bothering him for some time now. His steady play is a big reason why the Mavericks have been able to keep their heads above water even without their best player.
Over his last 14 games as the starting point guard, Brunson has averaged 19 points and 7.0 assists per game while showing the same patience and poise that made him so successful in college. As impressive as he's been recently, is there really any chance that the Spurs would have used their 18th overall pick on him in 2018?
The Spurs almost certainly didn't go into the 2018 Draft thinking they needed to come away with a point guard. Between Derrick White, Patty Mills, and Dejounte Murray, they probably felt quite comfortable with their point guard rotation at the time. That comfortability might have been the reason they passed on him but still, letting a proven winner like Brunson slide right past them was a mistake.
Would the Spurs have been better off taking Jalen Brunson over Lonnie Walker in 2018? Yeah, I think they would have been. But given what their roster looked like at the time, I can understand why they elected not to use their pick on him.