At first glance, the three-way trade that brought Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to the Golden State Warriors is beneficial almost entirely because of the acquisition of Crawford.
Warriors acquire Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks in exchange for Toney Douglas and part of their TPE, according to sources— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) January 15, 2014
Sadly, many people are writing Brooks off, including SB Nation's Sam Sorkin, who wrote, "Brooks is merely a throw-in, a failed first-round pick that hasn't panned out and probably won't get much playing time for Golden State."
But forgetting Brooks would be a mistake, because the 6'5" shooting guard still has plenty of potential to be a valuable player coming off the bench. While Brooks is a throw-in, that doesn't mean he can't make an impact for the Warriors, who haven't exactly received stellar production from their bench this season.
The general consensus regarding Brooks is that he's capable of scoring and nothing else. That's somewhat true, but it's also an issue that can be easily corrected with a bit of solid coaching. At least, that's what Tom Lorenzo of NetsDaily.com had to say:
The book on Brooks is that he's a one-dimensional player, a true scorer who at times reminded (still, reminds...) some of a young Kobe Bryant. Minus, of course, the heart, desire, skill-set, pedigree, championship rings, first-ballot Hall of Fame-iness, etc. Brooks can score, yes, and his turnaround jumper looks -- emphasis on "looks" -- a lot like Kobe's, but he's no Kobe Bryant. That said, he's an effective, at times less-than-efficient scorer who needs to be coached. In his rookie season he played well for a very bad New Jersey Nets team. They set him free, starting him 47 times as a rookie, and at times he actually led the team in scoring (finishing with 12.7 points per on 43.7 percent shooting).
There you have it. Luckily for Brooks, the Warriors' main issue is scoring production from the bench, as they rank dead last in that category, according to hoopsstats.com. Warriors coach Mark Jackson has expressed disappointment about his bench on numerous occasions.
"When you go to your bench, the good teams either keep the game where it is or they increase a lead," Jackson said, according to the San Jose Mercury News' Marcus Thompson. "What you don't want is to be thinking 'I've got to get my starters back in there quick.' That's not getting the job done."
That's where Brooks comes in. Throughout his career, he's averaged a respectable 15.5 points per 36 minutes, though I can't stress enough that he's done that with a very limited role, making his task that much more difficult.
When given the opportunity, however, Brooks can seriously ball. After all, there is a reason the Boston Celtics took him in the first round of the 2011 draft.
It's also worth considering Lorenzo's point about how Brooks "needs to be coached." By going to Golden State, he'll be under the tutelage of Jackson, a former guard who is regarded as one of the better coaches in the NBA.
That could work wonders for the still-young shooting guard who once showed so much promise.
Much of Brooks' struggles come from his aforementioned lack of consistent minutes, which prevents him from getting into a solid rhythm on the court. Brad Stevens utilized Brooks to the tune of 7.3 minutes per game, so it's no surprise that he posted a PER of only 11.24, according to ESPN.com, during his Celtics tenure.
But in his first year with the then-New Jersey Nets, Brooks had nine games with 20 or more points and 29 games with 10-19 points. That came despite only 47 starts, and he scored at a reasonably efficient rate as well (42.8 percent).
He actually improved his efficiency in 2012-13, scoring at a 46.3 percent clip, but saw his minutes get cut in half (and then some). That's a significant improvement over players like Kent Bazemore, whose .380 career shooting percentage isn't cutting it for the Warriors.
It doesn't appear as though Brooks will play a great deal with Golden State, but he'll receive significantly more minutes than he did with the Celtics.
With Nemanja Nedovic currently sidelined with a hamstring injury and Bazemore's terrible play (6.65 PER on ESPN.com), Brooks is arguably the second guard option off the bench, behind Crawford.
Additionally, the Warriors have upcoming games against mediocre teams including the New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz and Charlotte Bobcats, meaning Brooks could see even more time on the court during garbage time.
As previously mentioned, the Warriors need all the help they can get off the bench. When Stephen Curry and/or Klay Thompson need breathers, it will be up to Brooks to prove his worth.
As prior results have shown, he has the tools to do just that.