In a span of less than 2 years, Aaron Brooks seemed to have fallen off the face of the NBA world. He had become a bench warmer for the same franchise who saw him average close to 20 points per game in 2009-2010 as the starting point guard, a season in which he was named the NBA’s Most Improved player.
A trade to the Phoenix Suns the following year, a season in China during the NBA lockout in 2011, and a spot in a crowded Sacramento Kings point guard position in 2012 led to his release last season, making everyone wonder what the heck happened to him.
Brooks would settle for a return to Houston as the third-string point guard last March, which looked very awkward at first, seeing a player go from a starter just 3 seasons ago, to riding the bench. It didn’t phase him, however; so much so that he chose to re-sign with the Rockets in the summer, knowing that he would be the third-string point guard after the team had declined his option.
The Rockets sure are glad that Brooks is back; with all of the injury situations that have occurred in the early going, the amount of depth the Rockets have needed seems endless. Brooks has already seen action in 15 games so far this season, more than half of what Brooks saw last season with the Rockets. That playing time has given him the chance to re-capture his old form, something that was definitely enjoyable to watch during the 2009 playoffs.
As the starting point guard on a team that lost Tracy McGrady to injury, followed by Dikembe Mutombo and Yao Ming at that time, Brooks averaged 16.8 points, 3.4 assists, and shot over 45 percent from the field(42 percent from behind the 3-point line) during that playoff run which ended in a 7-game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Now coming off the bench, Brooks has averaged 13.4 points, 4.2 assists, and is shooting 50 percent from the field(54 percent from behind the 3-point line) in the past 5 games. Oh and by the way, the Rockets have won all 5 games.
While early season injuries to Patrick Beverley, James Harden, and most recently, Jeremy Lin, have attributed to Brooks’ playing time, he still doesn’t care too much about his minutes, or lack thereof on some nights:
“I am just happy to be here(in Houston). All the other stuff aside, I am happy to be playing here. Our locker room is cool. I get to hang out in there. Everything is really great, I just can’t complain.”
The Rockets could have a log-jam in the backcourt once Lin returns, and there’s also a possibility that Brooks returns to his third-string role. But for right now, the Rockets are happy to have that problem.