Why the Boston Celtics' Trade for MarShon Brooks Was a Steal
COMMENTARY | When the Boston Celtics traded All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets in the biggest trade deal of the offseason, few commentators paid attention to MarShon Brooks, a throw-in player the Nets couldn't find playing time for in 2012-2013.
Although it may seem like an unimportant aspect to a franchise-changing deal for the Celtics, Brooks could turn out to be a major asset for Boston in the years to come.
MarShon Brooks is better than you think
Brooks was drafted out of New England's own Providence College prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season by the Boston Celtics with 25th overall pick, but he was quickly traded to the Nets for JaJuan Johnson, who was also selected in the 2011 draft. In his first season playing for the Nets, Brooks had an outstanding rookie season, scoring an average of 12.6 points per game on 42.8-percent shooting and starting in 47 games.
For his impressive effort, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, along with Derrick Williams, the 2nd overall pick in the draft, and Tristan Thompson, the 4th overall pick.
The 2012-2013 season, however, was a completely different story. Brooks struggled to find playing time on a team suddenly loaded with talent, averaging only 12.5 minutes per game compared to the 29.4 minutes he averaged in his first season. So after a mixed first two seasons, just how good is MarShon Brooks? The numbers suggest he could be quite good and may even become the key player for the Celtics off the bench within the next two seasons.
Brooks' strongest asset is his offensive game. He can score in a variety of ways and is particularly strong around the rim. In 2011-2012, Brooks shot 54.3 percent from within 10 feet of the basket, which surpassed even Paul Pierce, who shot 51.5 percent last year. Brooks also shot a very respectable 37.1 percent from mid-range in 2011-2012, which was only slightly lower than Pierce's 38.9 percent in 2012-2013. Brooks was also very solid in the fourth quarter of games, shooting 42.4 percent from the field two seasons ago; Pierce only managed to shoot 36 percent last season in the same situation.
Brooks should get better
Brooks needs more playing time, and although the Celtics are currently bursting at the seams with shooting guards, the team should make several moves prior to the 2013-2014 trade deadline that will allow Brooks to get his shots in, assuming he is not one of the guards traded. If Brooks does stick around, playing with All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo will greatly improve his offensive productivity.
In 2011-2012, only 18.9 percent of his mid-range shots and 33.3 percent of shots within 10 feet came off of assists, meaning that Brooks had to create the vast majority of his own shots. In the same season, however, 42.1 percent of Paul Pierce's mid-range shots and 51.1 percent of his shots within 10 feet were a result of an assist, a testament to Rajon Rondo's ability to find open players for easy baskets.
If Brooks can take advantage of Rondo's talents, get easier buckets, and develop a stronger defensive skill set under new defensive-minded head coach Brad Stevens, he has an excellent opportunity to be a strong Jason Terry-like sixth man. His development, however, depends largely on a leaner Celtics roster, adding yet another incentive for president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to make roster moves sooner rather than later.