NBA scouts believe Dillon Brooks makes sense as free agent target for Houston Rockets

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

In the opinions of some NBA scouts, the Houston Rockets should make an effort to sign Memphis Grizzlies small forward Dillon Brooks in free agency this summer.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic looked at different free agent possibilities for the Rockets, with Brooks receiving some nice praise.

“Dillon’s a good fit,” the scouts said. “He’s not as seamless of a fit as Cam [Johnson] offensively, but he would bring something that Cam doesn’t defensively. He’s one of the better wing defenders in the league — especially of the available free agents – so I think he would bring that edge. A defensive mindset that would mesh pretty well with Houston. As a target (he) definitely makes sense for them.”

Brooks was actually selected by the Rockets in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft before being quickly sent to the Grizzlies in a draft night deal.

Over his six NBA seasons, Brooks has been effective when he’s been on the court. Unfortunately, two of those seasons were sidetracked by injuries.

During the 2018-19 campaign, Brooks was limited to just 18 games, a situation that resurfaced later when he saw action in only 32 contests during the 2021-22 campaign. In the latter instance, an ankle sprain kept him out of the lineup for two months.

Brooks has delivered relatively modest numbers on offense during his career, with his underrated defensive skills serving as one of his main calling cards. This season, Brooks is averaging 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, with his scoring average down from the past few years.

The aforementioned defensive abilities of Brooks serve as one of the reasons why the Grizzlies have developed into one of the stronger Western Conference teams. That unsung talent is why the Grizzlies figure to try to keep the 27-year-old veteran in the fold.

During Brooks’ career, he’s also been a volatile personality who is regularly assessed technical fouls. Other on-court behavior has led to fines and ugly vitriol from fans.

Yet, the Rockets are in a position where they might be willing to take the good with the bad. They finished a miserable 2022-23 season with a 22-60 record, sharing the worst record in the Western Conference with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Rockets are expected to have $59 million in salary cap in the free agent market this summer. Brooks is making $11.4 million with the Grizzlies for the final year of his contract.

Whether or not the Rockets decide to pursue Brooks remains to be seen, but for now, the veteran is focused on helping the Grizzlies advance in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

That challenge became more difficult after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, but the Grizzlies can even the series at one game apiece with a Wednesday night win.

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Brad has written on a variety of both NBA and NFL topics and has worked previously as a sports information director at the collegiate level. A lifetime fan of sports, he's witnessed countless great moments in different sports and understands that stories can be compelling from both the perspective of winners and losers. As a frustrated fan of Cleveland sports, he experienced something unprecedented when the Cavaliers won the city's first championship in 52 years.