Why the Portland Trail Blazers Should Try Signing Aaron Brooks
Aaron Brooks is leading the Guangdong Southern Tigers into the Chinese Basketball Association’s playoffs right now.
Within the next month or so, he should be finished with his stint in Asia and ready to return to the NBA as a restricted free agent.
Portland should try its best to sign him.
It won’t be easy signing him away from the Phoenix Suns, where he is the assumed heir to an aging Steve Nash. But it would be the right move for the Blazers.
Portland doesn’t have a reliable backup point guard.
Nate McMillan has been hesitant to give Nolan Smith minutes. We don’t know what Smith is capable of, but he must not be impressive in practice.
Armon Johnson saw more playing time last year as a rookie than he has this year. He played OK, but he is more valuable to the team taking Patty Mills’ spot as lead cheerleader.
Jamal Crawford has seen time at point this year out of necessity. That is not where he belongs. Crawford is a scorer, not a facilitator. He needs to stay at shooting guard where he can focus on what he does best—putting the ball in the basket.
With the inconsistent play of starter Raymond Felton this season, point guard is the team’s second-weakest position offensively. Center is the worst.
Who would be Portland's best bet at point guard?
Bringing in an established point guard like Brooks will improve Felton’s output. Brooks—the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2010—has the ability to compete with Felton for minutes.
Their styles are similar. Both are quick and can push the tempo, both can score and both can distribute.
Both have different strengths. Whereas Felton may be a better passer, Brooks is a more consistent three-point threat.
Through competition in practice, one of the two should emerge as the leader of the team at point guard. The other becomes a reliable backup to bolster what would then be one of the top second units in the league.
Brooks, Crawford and Nicolas Batum make a dangerous backcourt, not to mention one of them would be coming off the bench.
If it proves too challenging to spread minutes between the two point guards, the Blazers’ front office would have a valuable trade asset. One of the two could be swapped for a much-needed young center.
While Brooks' game on the court speaks for itself, he brings the added bonus of having Northwest roots. He went to Benjamin Franklin High School in Seattle and then starred at the University of Oregon.
Oregon’s large contingent of graduates living in Portland would love seeing an old classmate on the court at the Rose Garden.
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