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Memphis Grizzlies 2018-19 Preview: MarShon Brooks

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MarShon Brooks was a firecracker to end last season, he still has to prove he can keep the flame burning in 2018.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s all just take a big sip of reality and understand that MarShon Brooks is still human and probably won’t average 20.1 points per game this season.

Now that we are all calm, MarShon Brooks was a blast to watch at the close of the 2017-18 season. He shot an ungodly 59% from three point land in seven appearances. That seems like a fluke or just a typical hot streak, but even in his last stint in the NBA (2013-14 with the Lakers) he shot 58% from three in 18 games. The man can shoot the ball.

He also contributed 3.6 assists and three rebounds on just under 28 minutes a game. There is no doubting his ability on the court, it’s his sustainability that is the biggest concern. Even the best shooters in the game have slumps, and Brooks will likely have to overcome more than just inevitable shooting woes when playing a full NBA season.

Brooks is on a show-me deal, becoming an unrestricted free agent after this season. He has a ton to prove not only for consistent minutes on the Memphis Grizzlies, but for a spot in any NBA rotation. After being out of the league for three years, Brooks was able to make the most of his short opportunity in a Grizz uniform last season, and this season will give him his best opportunity to prove he belongs in this league long term.

2017-18 Season in Review

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

As you can imagine, this section will be short. MarShon Brooks first signed a 10-day contract with Memphis in late March 2017. He was playing overseas and the Grizz were already prepping for what the 2018-19 season would look like. He played in seven games and that was enough to prove his value for the upcoming season. Just nine days later, Brooks inked his deal to return.

He was a breath of fresh air for his seven games. The season has resulted in nothing but a lottery pick for Memphis, so to see a player have success on the court was a sight for sore eyes. Once his three ball started to fall, he was given the ultimate green light. In one three game stretch he scored 25-23-25 points, each game shooting better than 53% from the field. The only thing that could stop Brooks from scoring was the close of the NBA season.

Projected Role

Finding a spot for MarShon Brooks will be tough. His playing time may depend on what his defensive presence will be. The Memphis roster has a ton of depth at the guard position, so fitting yet another mid-sized guard into the rotation will be a challenge.

Brooks will be fighting for playing time with Garrett Temple, Wayne Selden Jr., and dare I say…Andrew Harrison. Depending on the makeup of less traditional lineups, he may also be fighting for a spot with Omri Casspi, Dillon Brooks, or Chandler Parsons. The one advantage that MarShon has, barring a major change in his production, is that he can shoot the rock, something the Grizzlies have desperately searched for since basically forever.

I see Brooks role forming into something similar to what Andrew Harrison’s role was last season. Harrison was given the ball mostly because of the injury to Mike Conley, but nonetheless Harrison would’ve been a bench wing-type of player. Brooks can be the threat off the bench to put up quick buckets and take pressure off the big men down low. Nothing will clear space more for Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, and Jaren Jackson Jr. like a shooter that can consistently knock down shots.

Best Case Scenario

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Call me crazy, but having a 40% three point shooter in a starting lineup is lethal in today’s NBA. If Brooks can show consistency and, at bare minimum, competence on the defensive end, he could a starter.

Allow me to dream for a second.

I can see it now: Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, and, there he is, the journeyman himself, MarShon Brooks.

That could be a competitive roster, truthfully. Unlikely as it is, best case scenario is that we get major production from MarShon Brooks on a one year show-me deal, and he gets signed yet again to the Memphis roster. It’s taken him years to get back to the NBA, now that he has a home for the short-term, he could perhaps prove his worth this season.

Worst Case Scenario

What’s worse: Brooks showing out, gaining trade value, and then not getting anything in return for his departure after the season is a wash, or Brooks being an Andrew Harrison type that contributes only a little and takes up floor space out of obligation?

And since it’s Memphis, there is always the threat of injury.

I can’t answer that question, but I suppose the former would be more exciting to watch with ultimately the same result as the latter. Let’s be real here, Brooks hasn’t found a consistent home in the league for a reason. His seven game stretch last season could be seen as proving the doubters wrong, but everyone gets lucky once or twice. He could be another Troy Daniels (a good shooter but liability on defense), or he could be like Markelle Fultz and forget how to shoot this season. There’s so much to be determined, but let’s just ride the positive waves.

Overall Expectations

MarShon Brooks will be fine. He won’t average 20 points a game, he won’t play 27 minutes a game, and he may not even get five shots a game, but he was worth signing. It was a low risk-high reward gamble that the front office played in desperation. I definitely see Brooks as an upgrade from Andrew Harrison, and MarShon could potentially be more of a complete package than him or even others on the roster.

But there is the hesitation of his lack of experience and trouble finding a home in the NBA. His shooting will keep him on the roster, but he will have to learn a bench role on a team that will slowly develop an identity as the season matures. He has some stiff competition in front of him on the Memphis roster, so is he can fight his way into the rotation, he will have already proved that he can play at this level.

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