Fantasy basketball: Why Jalen Brunson can be even better in New York

Brunson has lofty expectations in New York after signing a four-year, $104 million deal over the summer. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

What will Brunson's stats look like this season now that he's moved to Gotham to be the starting point guard for the New York Knicks? To get an idea, we should look at what he produced for the Mavericks last season... but with a twist.

Brunson is coming off the best season of his career, playing in Dallas. As a full-time starter for the first time, he set new personal bests across the board with 16.3 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.2 3PG and 0.8 SPG while shooting 50.2 FG%/37.3 3P%/84.0 FT% in 31.9 MPG.

While those numbers are very solid, they don't reflect what we should expect from him on the Knicks because the circumstances with the Mavericks are so different from what they'll be with his new team.

Last season, Brunson played with one of the most ball-dominant players in the NBA. Luka Doncic, who led the league in Usage Percentage (USG%) the second straight season, had everything on the Mavericks ran through him.

As such, when Doncic (37.4 USG%) was on the court, Brunson (21.9 USG%) was a secondary facilitator and more of a finisher than a creator. His production was capped, because he just didn't have the ball in his hands.

That said, his production took a major shift whenever Doncic was unavailable. In 17 regular season games without Doncic last season, Brunson averaged 20.4 PPG, 7.5 APG and 3.9 RPG. This, then, is a better starting point for what Brunson's numbers might look like with the Knicks this season.

Julius Randle was the primary offense creator for the Knicks last season and led the team with a 28.7 USG%, but this season Brunson should take over that role. He'll be tasked with setting the table and setting up easy shots for his teammates, but he'll also be the player with the ball in his hands that can look for his own shot.

We also got to see the high-end of Brunson's production potential when he is really aggressive in his offense creation for a stretch during the playoffs last season. When Doncic missed the first three games of the playoffs, the Mavericks really leaned on Brunson as their offensive engine. He responded by averaging 32.0 PPG (50.7 FG%, 41.2 3P%, 85.0 FT%), 5.3 APG, 5.3 RPG and 2.3 3PG in 39.4 MPG while leading his team to 2-1 series lead over the 49-win Utah Jazz.

While no one expects Brunson to average anywhere near this type of scoring volume for a full season, the fact that he could do so in the playoffs against a strong defensive team, while -- and this is key -- maintaining his shooting percentages across the board reflects very positively on the scaleability of his scoring ability.

Brunson didn't starting dropping 30 a game because he had an unsustainable hot shooting streak for a few games, but instead ramped up to that kind of volume while still taking and making the same shots he normally takes, and doing so while maintaining the same percentages.

So, what will Brunson's stats look like this season with the Knicks? I'm expecting him to average roughly what he produced in his regular season games without Doncic from last season. It's a strong stat line, but it's not as aggressive as what he showed in the postseason because the Knicks do have other talented offensive players out there with him.

While neither Randle or RJ Barrett are likely to average anywhere near Doncic's league-leading usage, they are both capable of scoring 20 PPG and it'll be part of Brunson's job to make sure they are fully utilized.

Still, we know now that Brunson has that extra gear, so if for any reason injuries strike the team and Brunson is called upon to really carry the load, he has the upside to ramp up into even more elite production.

I have Brunson in the top-25 of my preseason fantasy basketball rankings and expect him to have a special season in his first campaign in the Big Apple.