Over the past several weeks, I’ve talked about how Dillon Brooks can be an elite role player. I’ve broken down multiple aspects of his game, which includes his versatility, defense, scoring, and his ability to play various roles. Here’s my conclusion — a non-basketball aspect of this prediction. Let’s look at some history.
It’s fair for people to be hesitant when determining Dillon Brooks’ ceiling. He wasn’t on a good team last season, which means his numbers may look like empty stats. Because of this, some may project him to be a “good bench player on a lottery team” and a “starter on a bad team.”
One thing you should avoid though is letting his draft position determine his ceiling. Sure, he might have been the 45th pick in a deep draft, but that shouldn’t stray you from thinking he can be an elite role player.
Who are some other elite role players drafted in the second round? Let’s see... Jae Crowder, Chandler Parsons, Paul Millsap, Danny Green, Khris Middleton and Draymond Green were all drafted in the second round and have craved out exceptional careers as elite role players. If you expand it outside this category, you also have Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili, and Nikola Jokic.
Draft position sometimes doesn’t determine a player’s ceiling or his career path. It’s definitely not the case for Dillon Brooks.
Another common denominator for elite role players is their college success. Most of these players were the “Conference Player of the Year” in their respective conferences. Even though they were drafted in the second round, PJ Tucker (Big 12), Parsons (SEC), Draymond (Big Ten), Malcolm Brogdon (ACC) and Crowder (Big East) all won this award. If you expand it past second round picks, there’s former Grizzlies Tayshaun Prince (SEC) and Tony Allen (Big 12). In 2017, Brooks won PAC-12 Player of the Year over Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen — three players drafted in the top-10.
Sounds like he’s fitting the criteria, right?
Yes, Dillon Brooks has the skillset of an elite role player, and it could very well happen. He’s a versatile wing that’s tailored-fit for today’s NBA. He can guard and play multiple positions, shoot the 3-ball, and create for himself and others.
Brooks has shown the desire to improve his game, as evident by his busy summer with Canada’s national team. In addition, he’s quickly found himself under Marc Gasol’s wing in order to become a leader on this team.
He can be a special player in franchise history. It’s all up to the front office and the coaching staff. The front office needs to ensure he’s still on this roster — without overpaying, obviously. In addition, the coaching staff has to maximize his skillset to transform him into this elite role player.
Awards and draft facts found on sports-reference.