In less than a calendar year, Brooks has now been traded three times, as the Lakers officially announced the trade one day prior to the Feb. 20 deadline:
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for guard Steve Blake, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
You might know about Kent Bazemore for his towel-waving stint with the Golden State Warriors and his breakout performance during this past Summer League, but Brooks is more of an unknown commodity.
Should LA get excited about having another young player at its disposal? Should fans expect to see more offense or a little bit of defense?
Travel back in time with me so we can figure out everything you need to know about the Lakers' new acquisition.
Journey to the NBA
It wasn't until college that Brooks became a well-known name, and even then he was under the radar.
Coming out of Tucker High School in Georgia, the shooting guard was a 2-star prospect, per Scout.com. "Heavily recruited" is about the last way you'd describe him, as he failed to earn interest from any schools other than Providence.
Fortunately, the Friars ended up being a great fit for him.
Brooks struggled for playing time as a rookie, but he steadily increased as a scorer until he was one of the nation's best during his senior season under Keno Davis. Take a look at this progression, courtesy of Sports-Reference.com:
|Getting Better and Better|
|Year||Points Per Game||FG%||TS%|
During that final season calling Rhode Island home, Brooks absolutely exploded. Not only did his points per game skyrocket, but he also got even more efficient, just as he had throughout his time with the Friars.
While producing a 28.8 PER that trailed only Kemba Walker's in the Big East, Brooks outscored everyone in the country, save one player. The infamous Jimmer Fredette was the only one who could put Brooks to shame.
All this did nothing but help his draft stock.
Even in the midst of his stellar senior season, Brooks was projected to go undrafted, according to DraftExpress' mock draft history. But as he continued proving that his scoring skills weren't going away, he steadily rose up the boards, finishing the year as a projected first-rounder.
Joseph Treutlein tempered the expectations, though, writing for DraftExpress that Brooks' success in the NBA was largely dependent on situation:
Looking forward, it's a bit tough to say how Brooks would best fit in the NBA initially, as there are a large number of unknown variables in projecting his game, which will likely require a major role adjustment. If he's taken earlier in the draft by a dismal team in need of someone to create offense, he'll likely be more comfortable transitioning to the league, and may even be able to produce big numbers, but it's unlikely it would contribute to winning basketball, similarly to was the case at Providence.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) had him as the No. 15 player in the 2011 draft class, giving him a laundry list of positives, most of which related to his scoring prowess.
The rest is history, as Brooks slid during the actual draft, and it wasn't until the Boston Celtics selected him at No. 25 and traded his rights to the New Jersey Nets for JaJuan Johnson and a future second-round pick that he found a spot in the Association.
Journeyman in the NBA
Brooks' rookie season remains his most successful go-round as a professional.
He actually started 47 games for the Nets during their final season before moving to Brooklyn, averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest while shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 31.3 percent beyond the arc. Brooks was particularly fantastic during January, as there was an 11-game stretch in which he put up 16.8 points per outing while shooting 47 percent.
However, he couldn't keep it up, and inefficiency plagued him. Nonetheless, he showed enough promise and contributed to such an extent that he was named to the All-Rookie Second Team and was one of only 11 first-year players to earn Rookie of the Year votes, according to Basketball-Reference.
Unfortunately, of those 11, only Josh Selby has fallen off the map more than Brooks. The Nets basically forgot about him when they moved to Brooklyn.
The Providence product played in 73 games during the 2012-13 campaign, but his playing time plummeted from 29.4 minutes per game to just more than a dozen. Even though he was shooting the ball with more efficiency, Brooks just never received much of an opportunity to shine in the Barclays Center.
That said, he thinks he understands what happened, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News explained just prior to the start of the 2013-14 season:
Brooks knows exactly when things started to go wrong. He was part of the rotation to start the season and then he sprained his ankle at the morning shootaround before the third game.
Brooks healed but remained on the bench. While Jerry Stackhouse was getting the minutes, Avery Johnson was discussing Brooks’ defensive deficiencies on the team’s reality show, “The Association.”
“That’ll be one thing if he was pulling me in my office and saying that. But he was clearly – I guess he wanted everybody to know. Because everybody was like, why isn’t this guy playing?” Brooks said. “He never really pulled me in the office and said, ‘This is what I want from you and blasé, blasé, blasé.’ I found out through ‘The Association’ like everybody else. We knew (defense) was something I have to work on. Offense comes easy. I have to work hard on the defensive end. That’s something I knew but he told the world.”
As a result, he was moved to the Celtics—ironically enough, since the C's originally drafted him and traded his rights—as a throw-in piece of a blockbuster deal. You may have heard of the swap, as it sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett away from Beantown.
Boston didn't do much for him, though.
Brooks only played a total of 73 minutes before he was sent to the Golden State Warriors along with Jordan Crawford. Then he played only 15 minutes over the course of seven games before he was dealt for the second time in the 2013-14 season.
This time, Brooks was sent to the Lakers. And that brings us to the present and future.
What He Brings to the Table
If you watched Brooks play back at Providence, you couldn't help but see a version of Kobe Bryant. A poor man's version, to the point that he may as well be considered homeless, but a version nonetheless. It's a scouting report that Tom Lorenzo of NetsDaily.com agrees with to some extent, as relayed by CelticsBlog.com's Jeff Clark:
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.
Now he gets to learn under the very man he should be modeling his game after, and he gets to play for a coach who's known for maximizing the talent of role players. Mike D'Antoni should do a great job milking every ounce of offensive ability out of the 2-guard, and it's clear that he has a lot.
He just hasn't gotten the opportunity to show it.
The Lakers have a crowded backcourt, especially at the shooting guard position, and it'll only get tougher to find playing time when the Mamba returns from his knee injury. But assuming Brooks can find his way onto the court, he should be able to provide yet another boost in the scoring column.
Thanks to his incredible wingspan, athletic abilities and knack for creating his own shot, Brooks can do what so few members of the Lakers thrive doing—pulling up off the dribble and knocking down attempts from mid-range.
He won't be as heavily reliant on Kendall Marshall as everyone else.
"The Lakers should give Brooks a chance, since the kid clearly has some talent," writes B/R's Joe Flynn. "They have nothing to lose at this point. He might even put up a few 20-point games before the season is out. But if he doesn't play consistent basketball, Brooks might be out of the NBA by the summer."
This may well be his final chance in the Association, especially since his team option for 2014-15 was never picked up before he was traded to the Lakers. But it's in the best interest of the organization to see what type of benefit he can provide.
After all, the scouting report on Brooks is rather limited.
We know what he did at Providence, dominating as a go-to scorer during his senior season. We saw him fill the same role—albeit to a lesser extent—during his rookie season with the Nets. But then he stopped receiving minutes, and his development stagnated.
Additionally, the ability to see whether he was developing stagnated.
Patience is key, because there will be ups and down with the Lakers. But the roller-coaster ride could be worth it, which should be enough for the lottery-bound franchise to give him his first sizable chunk of playing time in years.
Truth be told, no one really knows what to expect from Brooks. They will soon.
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