Dillon Brooks says opposing players think about him every night: ‘It’s in their mind before the game even starts’

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Brooks is supremely confident that he is on the minds of opposing players every night in the NBA.

Brooks this offseason saw his time with the Memphis Grizzlies come to an end, and he’s now a member of the Houston Rockets. Considered one of the best defensive players in the NBA, he was asked by The Athletic why there wasn’t much discussion about him finishing Second Team All-Defense last season.

“I’m not sure,” Brooks told The Athletic. “It doesn’t matter to me. I know every single night, guys are thinking about me. It’s in their mind before the game even starts. So I’m not worried about that. It’s just one thing you put down as a good accolade and try to keep replicating each and every season. But I’m happy that I made the team.”

Brooks’ abilities became more noticeable to fans when the Grizzlies started to improve and get more attention as a team. Jaren Jackson Jr., the 2023 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, said during the 2022-23 season that Brooks has been the best defender in the league for years, suggesting that the 27-year-old just needed more exposure for folks to realize it.

Brooks may lose some of that limelight with the Rockets, who finished 22-60 last season and haven’t made the playoffs since 2020. Houston’s battles with other teams may be less heated than Memphis,’ which could limit the types of exchanges Brooks often made headlines for during his time with the Grizzlies.

But it sounds like he believes he can help the Rockets return to NBA relevance in due time. Houston has a new coach in Ime Udoka, signed Fred VanVleet as a free agent this offseason and added Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft. They will be joining a talented young group that features a handful of promising players.

As far as Brooks’ former team is concerned, the Grizzlies added Marcus Smart earlier this offseason and are looking to take a step forward in the 2023-24 campaign.

Memphis is approaching this season dealing with a 25-game suspension of Ja Morant. The 23-year-old is considered one of the better offensive players in the league, so his matchups with Brooks on the opposing team promise to be dates worth circling once the NBA schedule is announced next month.

Like Brooks says, Morant likely will be thinking about him plenty when those games arrive.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.