Espo: Brooks deal is nice but not what the Suns needed
Published: February 24, 2011 @ 3:14pm
Houston Rockets' Aaron Brooks drives during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Houston. The Rockets suspended Brooks for one game for leaving the court in the fourth quarter of their win over Memphis on Saturday, Feb. 5. Brooks has been frustrated about his diminished role. He did not travel with the team to Denver for Monday's game. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
They say love finds you when you least expect it. Apparently so do NBA trades for backup point guards.
For the last week all we heard was that the Phoenix Suns would be quieter than a Prius at a stop light at the league's trade deadline. Things like ‘the team didn't want to disturb its nucleus because they had recently found a rhythm' and that they were ‘happy with their current roster' were said by media and even Lon Babby himself.
Well, the Suns front office pulled off a better bluff than most guys competing in the World Series of Poker could. Instead of doing nothing they did something that confused me. They traded a backup point guard for a backup point guard. They added Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets, an explosive point guard who can score at will, in exchange for Goran Dragic. Oh, and a first round pick. (Don't worry though, it's lottery protected.)
The move, at least in my mind, seems like the equivalent of a homeless man buying a second car. It's just excess. The Suns have Steve Nash at point guard and, at the time of the trade, had two backups, Dragic and Dowdell, that were serviceable. Instead of dealing for a power forward who could score in the post, something both Babby and Gentry admitted they were in need of, they got themselves another point guard.
I'm not saying that Brooks isn't an upgrade. I'd be crazier than Christian Bale's character in The Fighter to claim that he isn't. He earned the 2010 Most Improved Player award when he averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists a game and he has an upside much better than what Dragic has to offer. (Not to mention he can play defense pretty well for a 6-foot, 181 pound guy.)
My issue lies in the fact that this move doesn't bring the Suns any closer to contending for an NBA championship this season, which is something that getting a good power forward to play along side Nash, Carter, Hill and Gortat could have accomplished.
A guy like a Jason Thompson or, aiming higher, a DeMarcus Cousins could have been a true difference maker. The price tag may have been higher than Dragic and a first, but the benefit would have been too.
If you are going to keep Steve Nash, you might as well go all in and give him the best supporting cast possible. It's like signing Leonardo DiCaprio to be the lead in a film, but then signing Roseanne Barr as his love interest to keep costs down. If you have one of the best as your star, you need to surround him with the best.
As I said, I don't hate the deal, but it does teach us two things. One, Aaron Brooks must be the heir to Steve Nash in the front office's mind -- if not, this is a waste of a deal -- and two, Robert Sarver must have a serious allergy to draft picks.