It was announced yesterday that the Houston Rockets signed another valuable player that started his season in Sacramento Kings purple.
After agreeing to a buyout of his contract, Aaron Brooks is now a Rocket once again. He joins as a free agent and provides the team with increased point guard depth, the one thing they lost in the trade that brought Thomas Robinson to their lineup. Now, with Brooks the Rockets have actually improved their backup for Jeremy Lin over what they had in Toney Douglas.
Brooks is a solid scorer and a guy who can run the pick and roll and handle the ball with class. In a seven year NBA career, Brooks had his best season in Rockets red in 2009-10 when he averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists per game, but he won’t be expected to post those types of numbers with this Rockets team.
The Rockets currently sit as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference as they push for a playoff spot and they’ll need all the help they can get to fend off the surging Los Angeles Lakers, Rookie of the Year candidate Damien Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers and the front court heavy Utah Jazz.
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In Sacramento, Brooks never settled into an offense that isn’t setup for ball movement. In Houston, he will have enough weapons at his disposal to be an impact player with more than just his scoring. For his career, Brooks has averaged a mere 3.5 assists, but joining a team currently ranked fourth in the league in assists should drive up his dime numbers.
Brooks fits in thanks to his 36 percent career three point shooting and his skills slashing to the basket. The Rockets are currently eighth in three point shooting and second in points in the paint. If Brooks can add just a little bit of backup fire power to the league’s best offensive team, the Rockets could continue climbing the Western Conference standings.
The team currently sits one game behind the Golden State Warriors in the standings, another young and inexperienced team when it comes to postseason play and making a push to get there. By adding Brooks, Houston gets a seasoned player who gained valuable experience in Phoenix before playing a year in China during the lockout and eventually crashing with the Kings. It isn’t much of a stretch to say he’s an upgrade over 24-year old journeyman Patrick Beverly and will prove the difference in pushing this Rockets team to the postseason, the question is to what seed?
Brooks has faced off against Golden State twice this season with the Kings, scoring a mere 12 points the first time, but blowing up for 23 points and 5 assists in the second game. Why is this important? The Rockets will play the Warriors twice, first on Friday in California and again on St. Patrick’s Day in Houston. If the Rockets are going to have a chance to inch past the Warriors, it will help to get production from Brooks like he provided Sacramento in his second appearance against them earlier this year.
Houston faces Phoenix three more times this year, Cleveland, Minnesota, Sacramento, Orlando, Dallas and Portland this season, so opportunities for victories will not be in short supply. But neither will important games as they face Utah, the Lakers and perhaps most importantly Golden State twice. Brooks is crucial in these games for his experience and what he can provide off the bench.
In the grand scheme of things, the Rockets most recent move is a small but tactically poignant maneuver that will make a big difference in the success of the franchise this season as well as its newest young potential star currently making his living on the second line in Thomas Robinson.
In a year where Houston wasn’t expected to make it out of a certain draft lottery spot, the Rockets will find themselves staring down a first round playoff matchup against a top three seed of the Western Conference and thanks to Brooks, it will probably be at the bottom end of that spectrum.