With the Houston Rockets being a young and upcoming team, there appears to be somewhat of a deja vu scenario for recent Rockets addition and former Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks. Houston recently acquired Brooks through a multi-team sign-and-trade that included five teams: the Grizzlies, Rockets, Clippers, Hawks, and Thunder.
This ended Brooks' tenure with the Grizzlies after five seasons. What is significant about Brooks' new situation in Houston compared to his previous situation in Memphis is how the two teams appear to have many similarities. This is further backed up by a quote from Dillon himself.
When asked by Locked on Rockets host Jackson Gatlin how his time in Memphis prepared him for his time in Houston, Brooks cited a striking similarity.
Rockets' Dillon Brooks makes two surprising comparisons
What is particularly interesting about Brooks' quote is the players he compared.
Ja Morant is an explosive guard with many highlight-reel dunks and excellent passing ability.
Jalen Green is a similarly explosive player, and I think I speak for all Rockets fans here, but I would be thrilled if Jalen developed into the shooting guard version of Ja, with some ability to handle the ball as well.
Then comes the comparison of Jabari Smith Jr. to Jaren Jackson Jr.
Both Jaren and Jabari have the defensive tools to be lockdown defenders, and Jaren most recently won the 2023 Defensive Player of the Year award. Even though Jabari struggled some in his rookie season, it was mainly on the offensive side of the ball, as Jabari averaged just over seven rebounds and just under one block per game, ranking 35th and 29th in the league.
Another point to strengthen the comparison is that both players have the ability to be respected 3-point shooters, however, Jabari is yet to show this consistently at the NBA level.
To be clear, I don't believe Dillon Brooks is directly saying Jabari is Jaren Jackson, or that Jalen is Ja Morant, but these comparisons are encouraging signs that show Brooks' belief in his new teammates.
If Brooks' comparisons prove to be at all accurate it would not be unlikely for the Rockets to follow in the Grizzlies' footsteps.
In other words, the Rockets could be poised to make some noise in the Western Conference in the upcoming seasons, as Houston is stocked with a young nucleus of Alperen Sengun, 2023 draft picks Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore, Tari Eason, and Kevin Porter Jr. off the second unit, not to mention Smith and Green.