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Dillon Brooks: Doing more with less

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Let it fly, Dillon.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a misconception behind Dillon Brooks. There’s a population of Grizz Twitter that like to say that Brooks is trash. I don’t know the reasoning behind this. Maybe it’s because he’s not Kelly Oubre Jr., and people are still salty about that ordeal.

He also may not become the guy we thought he would in this rookie season. Though they have contrasting styles, I liked his upside as Khris Middleton — a versatile 3-position player that can have a 17-4-3 stat-line and play great defense, while falling in the second round of the draft.

There also may be a misconception about Dillon Brooks’ role.

No matter where you fall on the #FreeJoshJackson movement, or how you feel about Marko Guduric’s recent surge, Brooks is the best wing on this roster. Besides Brooks, no other wing on the roster can do all of these three:

  • shoot the 3 at a nice clip
  • create his own shot
  • defend the opposing team’s best player.

However, there may be a little bit too much Dillon Brooks in the offense. He’s taken the second-most shot attempts per game at 11.9 attempts a game — right behind Ja Morant, and ahead of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas. You have to stay aggressive and create, but he shouldn’t average more shot attempts than either of those two players.

Does that mean he can’t be a starting shooting guard? Or that he’s “trash?” Not at all. He’s shown that he can be a reliable shooting guard alongside Ja Morant, especially when his shot’s on.

However, inconsistency plagues him.

He has just as many scoring nights in the single digits as he does in double digits. Most games he’s shooting under 50 percent from the field. His playing style attributes to that, as he plays a lot like a gunner. One way he could fix these woes is to start shooting more 3’s.

I know what you’re thinking... if someone’s not hitting their shots, why would they shot even further? The reasoning with his inconsistencies isn’t necessarily the distance of his shots.

It’s the difficulty of them.

Brooks is taking far too many contested, pull-up mid-range shots. 30.8% of his field goal attempts are off two dribbles, and 40% of them are pull-up’s. On such shots, he’s shooting 35.1% on pull-up 2’s, and 31.3% on all pull-up’s.

Because of the flow of the offense, and shifts within the defense, there will be pull-up jumpers, but the frequency of them from Brooks is less than ideal.

When factoring in the mid-range game, he’s in the 97th percentile in frequency in the mid-range at 46 percent, but he’s only in the 59th percentile in accuracy at 42 percent.

The analytics do — or attempt to — argue that the mid-range is shot that offers little value and efficiency (dope thread, by the way). However, when you’re shooting that shot this frequently, while capitalizing at below-50% clip, it’s time to reconsider the shot distribution.

With the 3-point shot, however, Dillon Brooks has proven to be a reliable outside shooter — perhaps even the best on the team. Prior to last weekend, he was shooting a blistering 41.2 percent from 3 on 4.9 attempts per game. That’s great, and it’s a nice volume, but it only accounted for roughly 40 percent of his shot attempts.

If Brooks could start shooting 3’s for 50-55% of his attempts, that could open up not just his game, but the entire offense as well. He’s the best catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter on the team at 42.4 percent, and he’s shooting 3.3 of those per game.

Shooting more catch-and-shoot 3’s will add more value to his game, as it highlights one of his biggest strengths, while enhancing his others. Percentage-wise, more attempts mean more makes, and more makes mean more points. Glad I got the easy analysis out of the way.

If he could increase his volume of shots, opponents will take note of it in film and close out harder on his shots. In the process, he’ll have the opportunity to attack out on the close-out’s, which opens up numerous options.

Brooks will have far easier mid-range jumpers, as roughly 22 percent of his 2-point field goals have a defender 4 or more feet away from him. In addition, it offers more him momentum to attack the basket with a full head of steam. Not to mention, while it offers up chances for himself to create for himself off the dribble, it opens up more playmaking opportunities as well.

Though the gunner mentality may masquerade it a little bit, Brooks is quietly one of the better playmakers on the team. His assist-to-turnover ratio sits at 1.2, as he averages 2.0 assists to 1.2 turnovers a game, which sits at 5th on the team. Attacking off close-out’s will force a defender to come help, leaving a wide-open player either down low or from downtown.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Brooks is a good basketball player and is the best wing on the Grizzlies’ roster. Though he may force it at times, he can get hot in a hurry, defend multiple positions, rebound well for his position, and create for others. However, he can do more for this team by doing less. If Brooks can look for more 3-pointers and less contested pull-up 2’s, he’ll be even more valuable for this Memphis Grizzlies team. In the process, he could establish himself as a mainstay with this young core.

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