Dillon Brooks was too much for the Charlotte Hornets to handle on Wednesday, leading to an easy 128-119 victory for the Houston Rockets. Brooks was an irritant defensively, as he amassed five steals in the contest and four in the first half - both of which were career highs.
Granted, Brooks' defensive tenacity shouldn't come as a surprise, as we know what he's capable of on that end. He was named one of the league's top defenders just a handful of months ago.
However, his offensive contributions became a big question mark, at least based on everything that came out of Memphis for the last several years. In fact, word got out that Memphis wanted to rid themselves of Brooks due to his shot selection, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
"The primary reason the Grizzlies were trying to replace Dillon Brooks for a full two years was because of the shot selection issue. Dillon did not want to be a fourth or fifth offensive weapon."
Brooks competed for Team Canada in international play over the summer and turned heads, while also displaying his scoring efficiency, averaging 15.1 points on a gaudy 58.8 percent from deep through eight games in the FIBA World Cup.
Brooks has made 62.5 percent of his triples in 2023-24 on a respectable four attempts per game. On Wednesday, Brooks went 3-for-3 from deep and dropped a cool 20 points on just nine shots. Afterwards, he took a subtle jab at his former employer when asked to explain his shooting surge.
Dillon Brooks takes subtle jab at Grizzlies following Rockets' victory
"I'm feeling great. Keeping with my same strategy, my same logistics, and my teammates are getting me the ball. So, it feels great."
The line about his teammates getting him the ball will certainly draw the ire of Grizzlies fans, as Brooks made the same comments during the summer.
“It was great having a refresh with Canadian blood...Guys who believe in me. Guys who trust in me. My teammates were trusting me to make the plays."
Before the season started, Brooks made it clear that he was bothered by the vitriol that was aimed his way as a result of his Grizzlies' tenure, when asked about his personal goal for the 2023-24 season.
"To prove everybody wrong. Whatever they said about me in the offseason or whatever they were saying before that, in the playoffs. Prove them wrong by having team success."
Oh, and as for the Grizzlies? They've started out 0-5.
The two teams face off on November 22nd, which is a date that Brooks probably has circled on the calendar.