By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
Former Oregon Duck Dillon Brooks refused to talk to the media again after a game six loss to the Lakers.
Brooks wasn’t afraid to talk to the media after a game two win in which he said about guarding LeBron James, “I poke bears. I don’t respect no one until they drop 40 on me.”
LeBron may not have dropped 40 points on Brooks, but the Lakers defeated the Grizzlies in six games to advance to the Western Conference semifinals against the Warriors.
Brooks is going to be a free agent this offseason. And quickly after the season, Shams Charania reported that the Grizzlies are done with the former Duck and in no way will he be brought back to Memphis.
Should the Blazers pursue Brooks?
According to Cleaning the Glass, the Trail Blazers had the fourth-worst defensive rating this season. Defensive rating is how many points a team will allow on average in 100 possessions. The Blazers had a defensive rating of 119.1. For comparison, Cleveland had the best rating at 111.
It’s no secret that the Blazers have needed defense for a long time. The last four years they have ranked 27th, 29th, 29th, and 27th in the NBA.
But is Dillon Brooks the answer?
Defense – Brooks was a good on-ball defender this season, posting a 2.4 defensive win share this season. The best Trail Blazer mark? Drew Eubanks at 1.6. And Portland’s best wing/guard defender was Josh Hart — who was dealt to the Knicks mid-season. Brooks would fit that need.
Toughness – Whether you like him or not. Brooks crosses the line of aggressive and dirty. That’s something the Blazers have needed for years. The Blazers play soft and don’t have an enforcer. With Brooks, he could be that guy.
Timing – You always hear, ‘Buy low, sell high’. You would be buying Brooks at what seems like his absolute lowest. He can’t expect a lot of money. He can’t expect a long-term deal. But for all the nonsense and noise out of Brooks, again, he can play some defense. And that’s what the Blazers need.
Attitude – Dillon Brooks has said and done some things this season that hasn’t helped his team. He called LeBron out. Then lost the series and refused to talk to the media. Got thrown out of a playoff game for a punch to LeBron’s “midsection”. And overall, he comes across as very unlikable. But would you love him if he’s on your team?
Shooting – Brooks’ shot has regressed a lot since he entered the league. We watched him at Oregon, where he was a solid shooter, but it never was his specialty. He came into the league and shot 36% on threes, a solid mark. But in the past three seasons he is down to 33% and shooting with more volume. The Blazers don’t need his offense, but will Brooks stay engaged defensively if he is not getting as many shots up on offense?
Obviously, the price is what matters. Brooks looks like he won’t be getting a lot of money after the playoff debacle. But do I want him on the Blazers?
The answer is yes — if the Trail Blazers are truly trying to make a push with Damian Lillard.
If Portland is looking to the future, I don’t want Brooks. But he is a guy I think could fit next to Lillard. The Grizzlies lacked leadership. Damian Lillard is the ultimate leader who wouldn’t put up with Brooks’s shenanigans. More importantly, Brooks fits a need. A wing who can play good on-ball defense. That is the biggest glare on a terrible defense. Portland has nobody to guard the ball. It’s hard to find guys who are 6’7″ and can play good on-ball defense.
Usually, there has to be some baggage for a guy like Brooks at age 27 to be available on the market for below asking price. Now is the time to get a player like Dillon Brooks.
If Portland wants to build a team that is trying to win, a guy like Brooks can help for a year or two while he tries to rewrite his career.