A Q and A with Red94 on the Aaron Brooks trade


This weekend I got together with Rahat Huq from TrueHoop’s Houston Rockets blog Red94 to discuss the recent trade involving Aaron Brooks and Goran Dragic.

Go to Red94 to read the full transcript, but find a few excerpts of Rahat’s observations on Brooks below:

Rahat: Brooks is not a playmaker, period.  He’s at his best when he has the green light to score and not worry about setting up the offense.  He struggles with interior passing and was so poor at post-entries that the team just gave up on having him on the same side of the court as Yao when the latter was healthy.  As you would imagine, he is also a pretty bad defender.

On the flip side, he’s a legitimate weapon.  The regression in his numbers this season can largely be attributed to an ankle injury and frustration over his contractual status.  His favorite victims are Derek Fisher and Steve Blake.  He can spot up, come off screens for 3s, take his man off the dribble, and is also dangerous from mid-range.  Made huge strides last season with a floater near the basket, correcting a tendency from previous years to be stuffed at the rim.  While Brooks is primarily a scorer, one of his greatest virtues was that he rarely holds onto the ball; he is very decisive in his moves.

Brooks is a classic sparkplug but his weaknesses preclude anything more.

Rahat: Regarding Brooks, I had been advocating a trade since last season.  Based on what Kyle Lowry got, my assumption is that AB would be looking for $7mill-$8mill/year, a cost not palatable for the current structure of this Rockets team. This is not to say Brooks isn’t worth that much — that could be appropriate value on the right roster — but it wasn’t worth it for the Rockets.

Tags: Aaron Brooks Goran Dragic

  • Mike L

    Obviously this guy does more to watch AB and the Rockets than I do, but I have a hard time believing that Brooks is useless as a passer. And this writer apparently has had his mind made up for a while, too, so I don’t see him leaving much room for a differing opinion. It would be really great to get a breakdown of Brooks key games last year when he played so well so we can see WHY the Rockets won and what his effect was on his teammates during those games.

  • http://audreyandchuck.com audreyandchuck

    Never really noticed Brooks in the past, as if it wasn’t too impressive or threatening. I think he was tough and competitive; wouldn’t have trusted a guy like him to shoot?

    After seeing his first stint yesterday, he is a very comfortable dribbler with evasiveness to spare. Couple that with better start-up speed than Goran, and he’s already headed to the basket. If I remember correctly yesterday, he would have had three assists early isolating teammates who missed bunnies.

    We’ll see if the team accepts Brooks, or waits for some “bad-boy” behaviour to emerge. My bet he won’t be encouraged to shoot, but to dribble/penetrate and kick is all, over Dowdell’s dead body. Brooks will improve the team.

    May get steals, but much too small to play any type of defense on a larger guard. That’s OK, because Nash has trouble with smaller, faster opponents.

    Another good move Babby, Sarver, Alvin!!

  • Shelton

    Another straight payroll dump by Sarver. Brooks wont be back next year and the goal was to save the $2 million Dragic was owed next year. While fans follow the standings and box scores each day Sarver follows the payroll. He has it down to $48 million next year. Thats what blows Sarvers hair back.

  • harvmel

    Kind of depressing take by the Houston insider.

    I think everyone misses the simple and key stat in Dragic’s drop off. He went from almost 40% from the 3 line to 27.7. As a result he has been very reluctant to shoot the 3, and has made I think 5 3′s in 2011. The defenders quickly pick up on this, backs off, packs the paint, and that puts a huge limitation on his ability to drive and score or create. When you add the big drop off in 3 point shooting from the whole bench, the picture becomes complete. Without the threat we used to have of the bench lighting it up from the 3 point line, the unit is facing a completely different type of defence. The only way to counter act this it is to either hit more outside shots or to change the personnel. I think many seem to be missing the basic fact that the success and lack thereof in knocking down shots, has been a key dynamic this year.

  • mikeren

    This has nothing to do with personnel. This was a way to save Dragics small salary. Sarver’s most immediate goal right now is to find a way to recoup the cost of the $4 million payment to Vince Carter when he leaves next year.

    He is not happy with saving $14 million from that contract he won’t be reinvesting into talent. His plan is to recoup that $4 million by getting into the first round of the playoffs, selling off Dragic’s contract and letting Brooks walk, and pleading with Pietrus to not exercise his team option.

    He is trying to avoid his favorite move of selling the first round pick for $3 million b/c he is obsessed with the public backlash that he is cheap and had stripped the team of most of its assets. If the Suns dont make the playoffs he will sell the lottery pick.

  • ironworks

    Sarver has already instructed Babby and Blanks to tell Gentry not to play Pietrus. He wants Pietrus to be unhappy with his role on the team so he does not pick up his player option at $5 million+ next year. He is just too good a defender to keep off the floor all the time.

    Sarver desperately wants Pietrus to opt out of his player option so he does not have to trade him. Sarver will do another Kurt Thomas trade with Pietrus if he has to. Sarver’s main goal moving forward is a pre-draft payroll of just over $40 million.

    I hope Gentry’s refusal to completely bench Pietrus at management’s demand does not cost him his job.

  • Steve

    @Shelton, mikeren, and ironworks:

    You don’t need to come up with different names to prove your point or make it seem like someone agrees with you. Nobody does.

    Oh, and thanks for the amazing insight that Sarver has instructed Pietrus to be benched. I was thinking it might have been his 38% shooting that was limiting his time, but I guess I was wrong.

  • Steve

    Oh, and @audreyandchuck

    “Another good move by Babby, Sarver, Alvin.”

    I won’t touch the whole Dragic deal because that’s still up in the air, but I’m curious as to what good deals Babby has made?

  • HankS

    Steve: I’m curious as to what good deals Babby has made?

    I’m having hard time not loving the Orlando trade, really. Gortat is eveything expected and then some, Pietrus is quite usable and Vince… OK, I don’t have much good to say about Vince, but still.

    On the contrary, Hedo with his monster contract keeps producing triple-singles on a regular basis, while Clark is a regular rotation player with rather irregular play. J-Rich is playing so much worse than he used to as a Sun that I’m wondering if he could be brought back when Vince is let go.

    And I’m sick of Sarver being called cheap. The Hedo experiment might have been dumb, but financially it was quite audacious. And the way the management managed to get rid of him deserves some recognition, too.

  • Mel.

    “He is trying to avoid his favorite move of selling the first round pick for $3 million b/c he is obsessed with the public backlash that he is cheap and had stripped the team of most of its assets.”

    If that doesn’t sum up the “screwed if you do, screwed if you don’t” mentality that some folks (And I use that plural sparingly, considering Steve’s hilarious “catch” of these “three posts” being slapped up in five-minute increments), I don’t know what does.

    So, Sarver’s a penny-pinching bastard who provides overblown contracts to role players while letting superstars skip out on the franchise because he’s too cheap to pay them what they want and would rather save that money for another major FA deal because he’s concerned that his public image is that he’s only willing to open his wallet for big-name talent even though the Suns wound up with a ridiculous amount of high-cost, low-yield deals in trying to keep some of our nucleus players during last year’s signing bona….

    Oh, you know what? Screw it. I can’t even keep up with this crap on a week to week basis, let alone try and summarize the whiner mentality. I miss the pre-STAT deadline days, when the Sarver kvetching was at least consistent and fairly unanimous in its criticisms.

  • Jason

    Gortat more valuable than J-Rich, Carter more valuable than Hedo, Pietrus more valuable than Clark. Any questions?

    Give management a break. Not everyone can throw money away like Cuban. Though I don’t think the Warrick and Childress deals have been good (obvious), I think they’ve made some good moves over the last year.

  • http://audreyandchuck.com audreyandchuck

    I’m mostly thrilled about this collection. They won’t lay down for losses anymore like they did earlier. All of the signing and re-signings made sense to me including Barron, etc. If we could give away Robin, Carter and Childress for Millsap, say, I would then trust everyone on the team!

    Hopefully, no one will get hurt; Robin would grow up; Carter would limit his mistakes; and we will compete and win into the playoffs.

    This team was assembled for the advantages that 3′s give. Never has there been so many good shooters on one team, and that’s the difference in the playoffs when defenses are stingy.

    Fans who wish to cut their losses this year to plan for the next, may not realize this can be our year. That 4-spot everyone’s been waiting for to give defensive presence and a go-to 18 points turned into Frye, who has a stature that doesn’t get pushed around (MIP).

    And Brooks, he will turn out to be lightning on a team I never thought was particularly fast.

    Thank you Sarver, Babby, Alvin and the player personnel guy.

  • Steve

    @HankS and Jason:

    I love the Orlando trade as well. We gave away one good player and two scrubs for one good player, one player with an elite talent (Pietrus’ defense), and one scrub. Plus we dumped payroll in the process.

    HOWEVER, Babby getting himself out of his own mess isn’t really that big of a deal, in my opinion. That’s like praising Kerr for dumping Shaq’s ridiculous salary onto the Cavs when he wanted Shaq in the first place. You can’t give a man too much credit for covering up his own crap.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I respect the fact that Sarver is active in all of this. He does seem to want to win, to me. He’s not cheap, and it’s obvious that he cares about the team. However, I strongly disagree with the Suns in their player personnel selections, and I think the main people to blame for those mistakes are Sarver, Babby, and Blanks. They’re overpaying for half the players on their roster, and our middle-of-the-pack payroll is producing a middle-of-the-pack team as a result of our terrible personnel matchings.

    I want to believe that there is something else behind the decisions that have been made, like signing multiple role-players to lucrative FIVE YEAR deals. I want to believe our management team has a solid vision for the future and a plan to bring this city another championship banner. I want to believe it, but it’s hard when they dump guys like Goran and Earl Clark who have an extremely high ceiling without giving them the time to realize it. They’d rather sign guys like Warrick and Childress (guys who are proven to be nothing more than role-players) for twice the money than give a couple of young guys with higher ceilings the chance to make it happen? Ugh, I’m just beating a dead horse because every Suns fans knows the goings-on. But given the history of this franchise and the history of the guys in charge, I don’t see how any Suns fan can sit here and give them high praise for their “accomplishment” in building a mediocre team.

    I won’t bash them for being terrible because they’re not, but how is 30-27 with our payroll acceptable?

  • HankS

    @ Steve:

    IIRC, Hedo got here before Babby did, so this one is on Sarver, not on Babby. (Not sure about when precisely Blanks arrived…)

    While I agree signing Childress doesn’t look very good right now, Warrick’s contract actually isn’t too bloated, and it isn’t for five years, either (three plus one). Signing Dudley is working out great and Fry’s contract looks decent, particularly when you compare it to the deals the likes of Drew Gooden or Amir Johnson signed.

    I don’t blame them for giving up on Clark, either, the guy’s got the body, but not the head. Dragic might be another proposition, though Brooks looks like he could end up a great fit–let’ see if he stays.