Washington Wizards Free Agent Target: Aaron Brooks


Washington Wizards Free Agent Target: Aaron Brooks

2014-15 season averages (Chicago): 11.6 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.1 FG%, 38.7 3P%

The Washington Wizards spent a large part of the last two seasons with 38-year-old Andre Miller as their backup point guard. And that was a lot of fun! Now let’s do something completely different.

Backup point guard has been a revolving door for the Wizards for years, and it’s a role currently occupied by a fellow named Ramon Sessions, a perfectly reasonable player with some major flaws. This is a position the Wizards could stand to upgrade, but it’s certainly not #1 on their list of priorities. I’d still like to see them get someone better than Sessions, and Aaron Brooks is one of the players the Wizards should look at first.

Think about all the backup point guards the Wizards have employed in the Wall Era: Livingston, Mack, Miller, Maynor, Sessions, etc. None of them had speed. I mean real speed, blow-the-doors-off speed, set your dang house on fire speed. Aaron Brooks has that kind of speed. He beats defenders and gets to the hoop in the blink of an eye, and he’s the type of  proven bench scorer that the Wizards really lacked last year.

The 30-year-old Brooks averaged 11.6 points per game last year for the Bulls, primarily as Derrick Rose‘s backup, although he made 21 starts of his own. 

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As Houston’s starting point guard, he averaged 19.6 points per game in the 2009-10 season, earning NBA Most Improved Player honors for his effort.

But Brooks’ scoring pace this past season wasn’t far off his best seasons, as he put up 18.2 points per 36 minutes in 2014-15, and 14.1 per game in his 21 starts.

He also burned the Wizards this year, we might as well say it. Matched up with Sessions and Andre Miller – like the Professor was ever going to be able to guard him – Brooks averaged about 15 points and 5 assists in his four meetings with DC, including putting up 22 points and 8 assists against the Wizards in Chicago on March 3. (That’s the game where Nene fouled out and scored zero points. Fun night.)

But that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. If we were going to make judgments on players solely based on how the performed against the Wizards, Vince Carter would be considered one of the greatest players of all time and Gerald Henderson would be pulling down $15 million a year. No, let’s make the comparison that really matters: Aaron Brooks vs. Ramon Sessions.

Age? About dead-even: Aaron Brooks is 30, Sessions 29. Size? Brooks is much smaller: listed at 6-foot even, 161 pounds, while Sessions stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 190 pounds. Brooks makes up for it with his superior speed, but while both definitely excel at getting to the basket, Sessions draws fouls at a healthier rate, although the gap wasn’t much this year.

Owing mainly to his lack of size and strength, Brooks even possesses Sessions’ most maddening weakness: he can get to the rim, but he struggles to finish when he gets there.

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Brooks shot a relatively weak 51.5% at the rim last season, not much better than Sessions’ 50.4% mark.

And while Brooks too may have you yelping in annoyance at a missed layup every now and then, that’s where the similarities end.

Brooks is just a flat-out better shooter than Sessions by a tremendous rate. Brooks once led the league in total 3-pointers made for an entire season, and he’s a bona fide long range threat: he hit 38.7% of his threes last year, most of them above the break, and it’s something he’s done his whole career. While Sessions hit over 40% of his threes as a Wizard last year, he averages 31% for his career, and he’s primed for some real regression.

Brooks has always been a more dynamic scorer than Sessions, and that gulf has grown. Brooks also coupled that with a higher assist rate than Sessions last season (24.2 assist% for Brooks to 23.0 for Sessions,) and while Brooks is far from an All-Defense player, Sessions is an absolute individual catastrophe. Advantage Brooks.

Once Rasual Butler faded back to Earth, the Wizards didn’t really have any bench players who could put up points in a hurry. Brooks provides. He could end up being a very productive grab for the Wizards, possibly using their bi-annual exception, which Ernie Grunfeld last used on another backup point guard: Eric Maynor. Oh boy.

So how about it, gang? John Wall, followed by Aaron Brooks. Speed on speed. I’m cramping up just thinking about it.

Next: Wizards' Big Brazilian Dilemma

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