Before hitting the court against the Phoenix Suns in the Sacramento Kings’ preseason opener, the last time Aaron Brooks suited up in an NBA uniform was with the team from the Grand Canyon State.
The Kings point guard was dealt to Phoenix for Goran Dragic before the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline from the Houston Rockets, a team he had spent the first three-and-a-half years of his career. At the time, it was a logical move for the Rockets, who witnessed Brooks regress just a season after winning the league’s Most Improved Player award.
Sometimes a change of scenery, especially in a contract year, can work out in a player’s favor. But in Brooks’ case, his move to the desert wasn’t able to turn around a lackluster 2010-11 season. He couldn’t shake a nagging ankle issue that plagued him all year long and played just 25 contests with the Suns before taking his game to China.
“Well, you know the problem that we had when we had Aaron is that he was injured,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry of his former backup point guard. “And really, he struggled to be there.
“It was his first time being traded,” Gentry added. “And I think it was a shock to him, really.”
Though things didn’t work out in Phoenix, the Suns head coach still endorsed Brooks as a viable pick-up for the Kings. Gentry pleaded Brooks’ case by pointing out his performance against the Los Angeles Lakers during 2008-09 playoffs. The Kings point guard averaged 18 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range in the seven-game series.
“When you’ve got Aaron Brooks at his best,” Gentry began. “And when he’s right mentally and he’s physically fine – he’s got great quickness, can score the basketball, push the basketball up court (and he’s a) really good teammate. So, I think he’s going to do well here.”
James Ham also contributed to this report.