Rockets, Suns Swap Young Point Guards

After a breakout campaign during the 2009-2010 regular season that earned him the most improved player award,  point guard Aaron Brooks was expected to do big things for the Houston Rockets this season. After a break run in the 2009-2010 post-season, point guard Goran Dragic was expected to do big things for the Phoenix Suns this season before taking over for Steve Nash when he decided to move on.

Shortly before the trade deadline yesterday, the two were traded for each other. So much for those expected leaps, huh?

For Brooks, it’s less surprising to see him dealt. I touched on him earlier in the year and talked about how he played himself out of a big contract and he’s hasn’t been much better since. Brooks is averaging 11.6 points per game on the season on 11.4 shots per game while shooting 28% from three-point range. Thinking that Brooks would make a huge leap from last season would have been an assumption made without basis but the Rockets did expect Brooks to continue producing at the same rate he did in ’09-10.

Instead, he feel off the face of the earth. He wasn’t a great player last season – his numbers were a bit inflated because of the Rockets’ tempo and his number of attempts – but he was a pretty solid point guard.

If I were to tell you that one of the teams involved in this deal also had to include a first round pick with their point guard in order to convince the other team to do the deal, after seeing Brooks’ numbers above, you’d probably say the Rockets had to pay that price, right?

Wrong, it was actually the Suns that had to pair a first round pick with Dragic in order to acquire Brooks. Dragic has been even more disappointing this season because the potential he showed in the playoffs last season placed his ceiling way higher than Brooks’ was. He legitimately looked like someone that could replace Nash; he looked like someone that could score 18 points a game, hit 37% of his three’s and dish out eight or nine assists per game as the new Suns’ point guard when Nash moved on. Instead Dragic had seen his three-point accuracy go down from 39% last year to just 28% this year. He’s been a pretty good distributor this season, but his offensive efficiency has been gravely hurt by his horrid outside shooting.

Still, of the two players, Dragic has the most upside. He’s the younger of the two and his size gives him an advantage in development over Brooks. Brooks is who he is at this point. He’s an undersized combo guard that can shoot a decent rate from beyond the arc. He isn’t a lead guard and he’s not someone you want running your offense, but he can score.

Dragic, in my mind, can still be turned into a starting caliber point guard and he’ll have a chance to start in Houston so long as he beats out Kyle Lowry for the job. Dragic’s craftiness with his dribble, his shot and his passes are in the mold of a Nash and he has a chance to do some similar things to Nash over the course of his career. He’ll need to step it up, though, because Phoenix had to pay to get Houston to take him on at the deadline, which shows you how big of a blunder he has been this year.

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Mark is an 18-year old sports fanatic that founded this website back in October of 2008. He is the lead contributor for this site and a credentialed member of the media for several sports leagues and organizations. Mark's main focus is the NBA, though he also covers MLB, NFL, and International events like the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic. Follow Mark on Twitter: @Mark_Travis

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