The Dallas Mavericks have struggled mightily ever since acquiring Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline. However, the Mavericks' issues might have actually started when Jalen Brunson left the team this summer, per Jamal Crawford.

“He [Jalen Brunson] was somebody that Luka respected, but he was also somebody who could get it done and play with him as well. So, when they lost him, they kind of lost their way.”

Crawford believes that Brunson was an integral part of the Mavericks identity and was the key to winning in Dallas because he knew how to get everyone on the same page. Given the New York Knicks success this season, Jamal Crawford might have a point.

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Jalen Brunson has led the Knicks to a 44-33 record this season and a current 5th place standing in the Eastern Conference. He is averaging 23.6 points and 6.1 assists per game while shooting a very solid 41% from the 3-point line.

This comes after a season where the Knicks finished 37-45 and outside of the NBA playoffs. Brunson has certainly brought a winning mentality to Madison Square Garden, something the Mavericks are desperately missing.

Dallas is currently on the outside looking in on the playoff picture in the Western Conference. With five games remaining in the regular season, the Mavericks are 37-40 and currently 11th and a game back of the 10th seed Oklahoma City Thunder at 38-39.

Pairing Kyrie Irving with Luka Doncic at the trade deadline had Mavericks faithful believing in championship aspirations. It now looks like they will have to fight with tooth and nail just to make it into the playoffs. Either way, they sure could use Jalen Brunson right about now.