The Suns have just acquired the 2009-2010 NBA’s Most Improved Player Award winner, Aaron Brooks. Although, Suns fans do not seem totally convinced that this is a good deal quite yet.
To get Brooks, the Suns had to send away young point guard Goran Dragic and a protected first round pick. Even though Dragic has been disappointing this season, fans are still worried that the front office has made a bad move.
Dragic was supposed to be the point guard of the future, but it looks like management has decided to go another direction.
This trade could mean two things: Either the Suns are planning on trading Nash in the offseason and starting over, or they are planning on signing a player (Zach Randolph?) in the offseason to build a new team around Nash.
Regardless, I believe the Suns have made a phenomenal trade. Brooks is only 26 years old and in his fourth season in the NBA. He has a golden opportunity to learn from Steve Nash and has the talent to be a great player in this league.
The following slides are 10 reasons why Aaron Brooks is a perfect fit with the Suns.
When I say Aaron Brooks plays as much defense as Steve Nash, I mean he plays no defense.
Nash may very well be the worst defensive point guard in the league. The Suns used to watch Dragic play solid perimeter defense, and then Nash would be a major drop off on the defensive end every time he came back in.
Now Suns fans will never expect any defense from the point guard position. No matter who is in, they will play defense consistently (poor).
Obviously this isn’t a good thing, but it was something I felt I needed to point out.
Last season in the playoffs, the Suns bench was unbelievable. When the second unit hit the floor, fans expected a big run.
This season, the bench has shown promise at times, but has not been consistent. The main thing the second unit has been missing is its attitude. Brooks is the kind of player than can energize this bench.
The bench makes a solid five man lineup:
PG- Aaron Brooks
SG- Jared Dudley
SF- Mickael Peitrus
PF- Hakim Warrick
C- Marcin Gortat
The Suns need big performances from these five if they want to crawl their way back into the playoffs. If Brooks can turn them around, I would hate to face the Suns in the playoffs.
Last season, Head Coach Alvin Gentry gave Nash days off throughout the season. After a stretch of three games in four nights, an older player like Nash is usually a little more gassed than others.
Brooks provides the Suns with an alternative if Nash needs to take a game off. Last season Brooks started all 82 games for the Rockets and was very effective.
The Suns might not have any games to spare, so Nash may not get a day off. But Brooks at least provides them with an option if it is necessary.
Anyone who has watched the Suns for the past few seasons know exactly what I am talking about. How many times have we heard the excuse for Dragic’s slump being that he isn’t playing with any confidence? Too many.
Aaron Brooks is truly confident and cocky, just the way a good basketball player should be. He isn’t somebody who is going to shy away from a shot just because he may have missed his last five jumpers. Brooks grabs the rock and takes his shots.
This is something the Suns have needed the past two seasons. Someone that has the confidence to take any shot on the court.
The stereotypical Suns player is someone who doesn’t play defense, shoots three pointers and runs. This is exactly what Aaron Brooks does.
Brooks seems like a player that should thrive in the desert. Phoenix has been the place where players like Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal have revived their careers. It has also been a place where people like Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson have made themselves known throughout the league.
Brooks has a golden opportunity to be one of these guys. Phoenix runs a system that caters to Brooks’ strengths. He can blossom as a Sun and put up some gaudy numbers in the meantime.
Goran Dragic was a fine young player, but he lacked the playmaking skills to be a good point guard. Although Brooks only averaged 5.3 assists per games last season as a staring point guard, he was a better playmaker than his stats implied.
His unparalleled quickness gives him the ability to penetrate the lane and dish the ball to the outside. This ability might allow Brooks to rack up big assist totals off the bench.
The Suns are loaded with three-point shooters like Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, Mickael Pietrus and Vince Carter. If Brooks can penetrate, these guys will be left alone beyond the arch. Hopefully Brooks can find them.
The second unit for the Suns is full of all kinds of players. Lockdown defenders/sharpshooters in Dudley and Pietrus, an inside defensive presence/rebounder in Marcin Gortat and a high-flyer in Hakim Warrick. All that group is missing is a go-to scorer.
Sometimes when the bench is playing together, the offense can get stagnant. Players will just stand around waiting for someone to take a shot, but nobody wants to take it themselves.
Brooks is the kind of player who can take that shot when needed. If the other players are throwing up bricks, Brooks has the ability to carry the second unit.
It is very doubtful that the Suns will ever start Steve Nash and Aaron Brooks together. However, it is a certainty that these two will play on the court together a lot.
When the Suns traded for Carter they expected him to be a major offensive threat at shooting guard. Unfortunately, he has been nothing but a major disappointment. I believe that Brooks is a much more prolific scorer.
In this lineup, Nash would handle the ball and Brooks would probably be the primary scorer on the court.
For most of his career Brooks has been forced to create his own shot, but things will be different with Steve Nash. Brooks will be given open looks, rather then being forced to create them all on his own.
Closing out games has been a problem for the Suns since the beginning of the Steve Nash era. The Suns have always searched for a player that always wants the ball in his hands while the game is on the line.
Most of the time this responsibility rests completely on Nash’s shoulders. Occasionally Hill, Dudley and Pietrus have stepped up, but nobody has been consistent in the end of games.
The Suns have found a true closer in Aaron Brooks. When the game is on the line, Brooks loves to take the big shot. Hopefully he can be as clutch of a player in Phoenix as he was in Houston.
There have been so many attempts to find the heir to Steve Nash’s Suns…
Yuta Tabuse: Wasn’t NBA talent.
Result: Released and now playing in a Japanese league.
Leandro Barbosa: Had to be moved to shooting guard.
Marcus Banks: No consistency/never developed.
Goran Dragic: Lack of confidence/consistency.
Will Aaron Brooks be the next on this list of casualties? Hopefully not. Suns fans are praying that Brooks is finally the answer they have been looking for.
In his fourth season, Brooks is a much better player than Nash was at this point in his career. He scores better than Nash did and passes just about as well as the young Nash did.
There is a lot of room for improvement in Brooks’ game. He is a very unpolished raw talent, but he has a lot of potential. Hopefully he can reach it. If he can, the long search for Steve Nash’s heir might finally be over.