Fresh Off Lighting Up Team USA At FIBA World Cup, Dillon Brooks Is Getting Paid Like He’s That Dude | But Will He Help The Rockets Improve?

The Houston Rockets were one of the worst teams in the league last season. They finished 22-60, 29th in aNET rating, 27th in aORTG, and 29th in aDRTG. But they made some curious moves this offseason, such as signing everyone’s favorite villain, Dillon Brooks, to a four-year, $86 million deal.

If the Rockets stink again this season, this signing may be looked at as a reason. But don’t be too quick to blame Brooks if the Rockets falter.

Let’s start with some facts.

Dillon Brooks Is A Good Basketball Player

Brooks is an elite defensive player, ranking in the 97th and 95th percentile in defensive EPM the last two seasons. He earned his first All-Defensive honor last season, and it should have been his second.

He relishes guarding the opponent’s best player. That’s a rare and valuable skill in a league full of apex predator scorers.

He is also a trash talker that takes it up to and over the line. That’s the gift and the curse of Brooks.

He would not be in the NBA if he didn’t possess that level of intensity and borderline insanity. The challenge for any team he’s on is how to allow him to be him, while not hurting the team.

Brooks is a limited offensive player. He is a career 34.2% three-point shooter and takes ill-advised shots at critical junctures of the game.

But Brooks is not a dumb basketball player. He understands the game well and, as seen this summer at FIBA World Cup, he can flourish in the right environment.

In the bronze medal game against Team USA, Brooks led Team Canada to the victory with 39 points, including 7-8 from deep.

That percentage is not sustainable and just about any NBA player can have a night like that, but Brooks talked about the NOAH shooting system he used during Team Canada workouts.

“In Toronto they got this machine that helps you with your arc and I just had that number in my head every single time,” said Brooks.

Know Your Role

When a player is working on their shot, the goal is to improve the likelihood of the ball going in. The further away you are from the basket, the more arc you need.

Brooks will never be confused with Steph Curry or Klay Thompson as a shooter, but if he can be a credible shooter? Thirty-six or even 37 percent? That would go a long way in helping the Rockets this season.

This Rockets team has talent, but they’re mostly young, and it will be up to new head coach Ime Udoka to get this team to buy in defensively first.

He won’t have any problem with Brooks on that end of the floor, and that excellence will allow Udoka to give him more license to shoot on the other end, provided it’s within the flow of the offense.

Brooks will continue to be who he is; that’s what got him into the NBA and made him a successful player with the Grizzlies, until he was scapegoated for the team’s playoff failures.

The Rockets may very well be bad again this year, but it likely won’t be Dillon Brooks’ fault.

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