Statistically speaking, Sacramento Kings point guard Aaron Brooks isn’t having a bad season. In fact, he’s actually having a very solid year if you go off the numbers, but as everybody knows – the game is far greater than a box score.
Kings GM Geoff Petrie has had his eyes set on the former Oregon Duck for years – attempting to acquire the pint-sized point a handful of times, but his efforts always fell short until this past offseason when Petrie swooped in and grabbed his coveted point. Of course, most had questions about the move. Sure – the Kings needed a little bit of depth in the backcourt, but they already had a handful of players who could handle the ball (Garcia, Salmons, Evans, Thomas) and appeared to be set with both Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas as their starters. Aaron Brooks wasn’t exactly the type of player the Kings needed – with a roster full of sticky fingered talent, the Kings needed a floor general who could find the right player at the right time, an Andre Miller for example – a style of game where scoring takes secondary desires behind setting up the offense.
Alas, Brooks was brought in and not only lacked the desired and needed skill set for the team, he was dropped into the starting lineup, all but stunting the growth of youthful guards in Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas.
There was no doubt the Kings had grand intentions this season. No, they weren’t going to contend for an NBA Championship but there was hope they could sneak in the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff picture and the addition of a veteran who had some solid offensive history in the league seemed like a good move to Petrie. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.
As mentioned above, looking at Brooks’ stats, you’d be hard pressed to argue with them – 45% from the field, 39% from the arc, 2 rebounds a game to go along with 2.8 assists and only 1.5 turnovers a game. Nothing wrong with that, at all. However, the box scores fail to record all of the defensive lapses created by Brooks. The box scores fail to record the poor shot selection – the frustrating desire to over-dribble and pound the shot clock – the wrong pass at the wrong time to the wrong player. I don’t mean to harp on Brooks’ play nor do I think he’s a bad player as he can thrive in the right setting as we’ve seen before, Houston being an example. But for the Kings, Brooks’ game simply doesn’t mesh – not with this roster. That’s not even on Brooks really as most players wouldn’t actually fit with this current collection of players – they need a unique type of talent who can harness the offensive oddball collection of players the Kings have amassed.
With the emergence of Jimmer Fredette and the continued solid play of Isaiah Thomas, there simply isn’t a lot of time for Aaron Brooks – although Keith Smart does his best to find ways to get him on the floor.
The recent injuries to Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans have decimated the backcourt, so the extra time for Brooks right now is understandable but there’s little to no reason for Brooks to play over Isaiah Thomas or Jimmer Fredette when the roster is healthy. The Kings aren’t going to the playoffs – Brooks is not part of the future.
No player on the roster has a bigger negative production than Brooks (-9.8) and only James Johnson holds a lower simple rating – with Brooks and Johnson being the only two rotation players with simple ratings past -4 (Brooks is -7.2, Johnson -8.8). Brooks also holds the second highest turnover percentage of his career this season, despite being a career low in usage (currently being used only 18% – lowest prior was his rookie season where he was used nearly 22% of the time).
Again – Brooks has a place in this league, but it just doesn’t mesh with this collection of talent. Sadly, it seems most can see that outside of one person, who just happens to coach the Kings.