Dillon Brooks: C
This one is complicated. Brooks became one of the laughingstocks of the postseason when he publicly challenged LeBron James (yes, that LeBron James) to score 40 on him. Brooks went on to put up one of the worst performances of his playoff career while James ultimately led the Lakers past Brooks' Grizzlies and on into the second round. It only got worse from there for Brooks, as he mourned over his public villain status to the media following an embarrassing performance.
Now he will be making $80 million over the next four years as a member of the Houston Rockets. There's little certainty about who the Rockets believed themselves to be competing against to sign Brooks.
An average annual value (AAV) of $20 million is potentially $5 million dollars per year more than anyone else was going to put on the table. It has been reported that Brooks is coming via sign and trade but the exact details of that trade have yet to come out.
This ties Houston up with big money for a wing defender who has not shot well in the years when they will likely be giving raises to guys like Jalen Green and Alperen Şengün. There is a reason why even the reporters and analysts who have been favorable toward the Rockets are shocked by this deal.
What's so complicated about that? The Houston Rockets gave a long-term deal with a high AAV to a one-dimensional player whose value may be at an all-time low since he became a key contributor to the Memphis Grizzlies. It would be very easy to write this off as a terrible deal for a player with terrible PR.
However, Brooks will come in on day one and be one of the hardest workers on the team. He has a relentless motor and an incredible nose for the basketball.
Udoka will need to rein in his shot selection and volume, but one of the top wing defenders in the league has the potential to be an immediate floor-raiser. Adding him means that you can possibly have two or three of VanVleet, Brooks, Thompson, Eason, and Smith Jr. on the floor at any time. This will be a huge lift for Green and Şengün while they try and find their way defensively.
The contract and player alone would put this deal in the D range, but the Rockets' great need for an elite wing defender with unwavering effort brings this up to a passing grade. It is a bad deal, but it is a solid addition.