For the rest of the month, GBB will be breaking down every Grizzlies player that logged double-digit game appearances for Memphis this season and what their games need moving forward. Welcome to the 2018-2019 Memphis Grizzlies Player Review series!
18 Games (0 Started), 40.2% shooting, 37.5% from three, 103.7 offensive rating, 106.1 defensive rating, 7.62 PER, -0.004 Win Shares per 48 Minutes
Season in Review
In 2017-2018, Dillon was the only member of the roster to play in all 82 games. This past season was the complete opposite. Appearing in only 18 games, Dillon was sidelined for much of the season. Brooks was used as a role player off the bench, not starting any games this season despite starting 74 games in the injury-plagued 2017-18 season.
11 games into this campaign, Dillon suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain that forced him to miss the Grizzlies’ next 21 games. He would return on December 23rd in Los Angeles against the Lakers, but would only play 7 games before suffering a toe injury on January 5th against the San Antonio Spurs. Dillon was initially listed as day-to-day, before it was ultimately discovered he needed surgery to fix a ruptured ligament in his toe.
Dillon was also caught in the center of one of the more entertaining (or frustrating depending on which way you look at it) moments of the season. If you’ve forgotten (or chose to forget):
Washington, Phoenix and Memphis have agreed in principle on deal that will also include Wayne Selden and Dillon Brooks headed to Suns, and a 2020 Grizzlies second-round pick and a conditional 2019 second-rounder to Washington, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 15, 2018
Except, according to sources the Brooks involved was MarShon and not Dillon as first reported. The ensuing chaos made the Grizzlies, Suns, and Wizards the butt of many a joke around the sports world of the next 24-48 hours. Also, whether it’s a coincidental or not, all of the general managers involved are no longer in their roles. Dillon would press on until his toe injury would take the rest of his season from him.
Even before the injuries that cost him his season occurred, Brooks was trending down from his rookie campaign, with most of his stats down a bit across the board. The lackluster start to his 2018-19 campaign led some to believe that the success Brooks had in 2017-18 may have been a fluke or maybe just a result of being an average player on a very below-average team.
Dillon, like several other Grizzlies, is heading into an off-season of uncertainty. His contract is non-guaranteed for 2019-2020 if he’s cut before free agency starts in July, and if he’s back next season going into the 2020-2021 off-season Dillon would be a restricted free agent.
If he’s back, then next season is truly a make or break season for Brooks. Defensively, Brooks had a similar year defensively per 100 possessions, with a 113 rating his rookie year compared to 112 this season. Offensively is where Dillon would need to make some big leaps. While his 3-point percentage is up 2% to about 37%, he dropped to almost below 40% from the floor in his limited time on the court.
There’s still the possibility the going into next season that the Grizzlies may decide to move on from Dillon and just cut him before free agency begins, but I think that would not make much sense, even if the team needs/wants to potentially tank next season depending on how this year’s lottery pans out. Dillon’s salary is relatively small and easy to take a chance with. He’s due to make approximately $1.6M this season if he’s on the roster, and approximately $2M via a qualifying offer as an RFA.
Health will be concern number one for Brooks moving forward. If healthy, Brooks can be an impactful player on the court, as seen in 2017-2018. But,we still also don’t know if Dillon can be the impact player he was as a rookie when the Grizzlies aren’t a bottom end team. Can the two entities be successful at the same time?
That remains to be seen.