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Season in Review: Dillon Brooks spreads his wings

The rook established himself as a key player in a rough season.

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

Check out previous entries in the Season in Review series here.

Dillon Brooks 2017-2018 Season

Points per game Rebounds Assists Steals Field Goal % 3 point % Free throw % PER
Points per game Rebounds Assists Steals Field Goal % 3 point % Free throw % PER
11 3.1 1.6 0.9 44 35.6 74.7 9.8
Dillon Brooks shooting stats

Anyone who payed any sort of attention to the Grizzlies this season knows the story of young Dillon Brooks. Drafted by the Rockets and traded to Memphis on draft day, Brooks came into the season at the bottom of a rotation, not expecting to see much time. However, injuries and Tyreke Evans spending more time as a point-forward forced Brooks into action.

He came out with a bang, scoring 19 points in that first game against the Pelicans and over the course of the season proved that he belongs in the NBA and that he is an important part of the Grizzlies future.

In what turned out to be a disappointing season for the team, Brooks was one of the parts that got better as the season wore on. Six of his seven games of 20+ points came after the All-Star break. He was also the only rookie to play in all 82 games of the regular season, starting 74 of them. He was dependable in every sense of the word.

The Best

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

There were a few choices for this spot. His season-high 36 points in the finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder comes to mind. As does his 29 point game against the Bulls when he dropped 20 in the fourth quarter alone. But to me Brooks’ best game of the season was that first game against the Pelicans. His NBA debut was unheralded at first, but he quickly proved that he came to play and he is here to stay. He surprised a lot of people with his contributions and gave Memphis an opening win on what we thought was going to be another winning season. We didn’t get the winning season we wanted, but Brooks was one of biggest positives in a negative campaign.

The Worst

Brooks really didn’t have one bad moment that stood out to me, so his worst of the season were the four games were he was held scoreless. It was clear over the season that Brooks makes his biggest impact when he puts the ball through the hoop and when he wasn’t able to do that, his impact on games were limited at best. Hopefully with his second season comes even more consistency and there won’t be any more scoreless games from Brooks.

Ways to Improve

Brooks really showed tremendous growth over the course of the season, but there is more room to improve, specifically as a defender. While he is limited in terms of his length and athleticism, an increase in his effort and understanding of the less-glamourous end of the court will lead to an improvement in that regard. Seeing as how Brooks gets tasked with guarding guys like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James, any way he can get better defensively will be a major boost to his career.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Grade

Brooks has definitely earned a passing grade for his efforts this season. He went from unheralded draft pick to nightly starter. He managed to play his way into a premier role and surprised a lot people. While he wasn’t perfect in any sense, Dillon ended up being one of Memphis’ better players and should have a key role moving forward.

He was more consistent than both Wayne Selden Jr. and Ben McLemore and even if Memphis drafts someone like Luka Doncic or Michael Porter Jr., who both play similar positions on the wing, it shouldn’t have any effect on his playing time. While he has proved he can competently handle the ball, Dillon has proved he isn’t dependent on having the ball in his hands. Brooks got his chance due to injuries on the roster and there isn’t any reason he shouldn’t be in the starting lineup once next season kicks off.

GRADE: B

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