Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
All of which makes MarShon Brooks perhaps the most intriguing player in Boston’s return haul. The early iteration of this deal had veteran rebound machine Reggie Evans coming to Boston, but Brooks was later swapped in his place. Now the 24-year-old swingman will get a chance with the team that originally drafted him (Boston picked Brooks at No. 25 for Brooklyn in 2011, then swapped picks with Brooklyn, bringing back JaJuan Johnson).
Not surprisingly, many Celtics fans lamented the Johnson-Brooks swap, particularly as the latter averaged 12.6 points over 29.4 minutes per game his first season and landed on the NBA’s All-Rookie second team. Johnson played 300 unremarkable minutes in Boston, was traded away last summer and toiled in the D-League all of last season. While Boston brass stressed that they were simply making the pick for Brooklyn and had not considered Brooks at No. 25, the sight of him in that Celtics cap on draft night left fans wondering what could have been.
Now we’ll find out.
A lot of people fell in love with Brooks during his monster senior year at Providence College where he dropped nearly 25 points a game on 48% shooting. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that in the NBA, though, struggling this past season, and not shooting very well as a pro.
But stats can be a funny thing. In his rookie year, where he supposedly performed better (averaging 12.6 ppg), he shot 42.8% and had a PER of 12.9. Last season, where he didn’t play nearly as much, he actually shot better (46.3%) and had a higher PER (13.5). If you look at his per-36 numbers, continued shooting at his pace last year with more minutes would have given him the same level of production.
So on the one hand, you can say he struggled through this past season while his minutes were dramatically cut. On the other, you can say he made the most of those fewer minutes, and may be improving his efficiency.
We can definitely say this: Brooks will get a shot if he manages to stick with this team through the summer (you never know what Danny Ainge has cooking). He’s got a very cap-friendly deal, so there’s no financial reason to give him up. He’s walking into a coaching situation that has no prejudices or loyalties. The Brad Stevens Celtics will compile the raw data and, if Brooks does positive things on the floor, he’ll continue to get playing time.
As much as I love Doc Rivers (yes, even still), his loyalties and faith in veterans sometimes got in the way making the right lineup calls. Stevens will look give everyone a chance to show their stuff, and then take a much more analytical approach to playing time.
Brooks has an opportunity. He’s in the right situation with, it appears, the right coach and a point guard that should put him in the right place to score. If he can do it consistently and efficiently, then maybe the C’s will have gotten a gem out of this deal… which would be nice because tweeting with dollar signs instead of “S’s” in people’s names is fun when they get hot.
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