MarShon Brooks using Sacramento Kings summer league team to prove NBA worth

MarShon Brooks against the Charlotte Hornets at 2014 NBA Summer League. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

LAS VEGAS – MarShon Brooks knows the position he’s in at this point in his NBA career. After being selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the 25-year-old shooting guard understands he’s fighting to get his professional basketball life back on track.

Brooks is attempting to do that this summer with the Sacramento Kings. So far, so good for Brooks.

“They showed a lot of interest in me, so I just wanted to come out here and try to make the team,” Brooks said after Saturday’s practice. “I think so far, I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been proficient from the floor in my opportunities. I just gotta be a little more aggressive.”

He’s managed to earn consistent playing time in the Kings’ Las Vegas rotation.  Despite having to compete with two other guards in Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas, Brooks has scored an efficient 8.0 points in 15.0 minutes per game over the Kings’ first three contests.

“Do I look at it as an opportunity to compete against them (Stauskas and McLemore)?” Brooks rhetorically asked. “I mean that’s just inevitable.  We’re all shooting guards, so it’s inevitable competition.  We practice against each other all the time.  But as far as me, I’m just trying to get my career back on track.”

His last year in the NBA was a whirlwind. Just a little over a year ago, Brooks was dealt from the Brooklyn Nets, the team with which he spent his first two seasons in the league, to the Boston Celtics. Not long after the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Brooks found himself dealt again, this time as tertiary part of a deal with the Golden State Warriors. His stay in Golden State didn’t last long – seven games to be exact – as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he finished the remainder of the season.

There’s no question that Brooks has talent. Every time he steps onto the court, he passes the eye test, displaying a silky, fluid game that makes you wonder why he’s fighting just to stick in the league.

“MarShon, he’s a professional scorer,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said of the summer league invite. “The guy can score the basketball. He has an NBA skill, and that is to put the ball in the hole and he’s shown that in his very short NBA career.”

Through 164 career games, Brooks has proven that he can indeed fill it up. He’s averaged 15.8 points per 36 minutes on 44.2-percent shooting from the field and 32.6 percent from 3 during the course of his three years in the league.

Scoring, however, isn’t the issue when it comes to the 25-year-old guard’s game. One of the knocks on Brooks coming into the league was his lack of intensity on the defensive side of the floor. When it comes to defense, not much has changed for Brooks during the course of his three years in the NBA.

Brooks is well aware of his perceived shortcomings in the NBA and wants to show that he’s a changed man. “Being in shape and just flying around, just making those impact plays, getting hands on the ball, deflections, just playing with a lot of energy on the defensive end” are all things he’s trying to showcase this month.

As a member of the Sacramento Kings’ summer league team, Brooks is getting an opportunity to change the league’s perception of him. Playing for a coach who understands defense about as well as anyone should help aid Brooks.

“For him to be an NBA player and have a long career, he’s got to be a guy that can score but is also not a defensive liability,” Malone said of Brooks, “a guy that can at least attempt to defend.

“What I’ve seen this week is he’s trying, he’s buying in, he’s trying to do all the right things.”

The Kings need a scoring punch off their bench. Brooks can certainly fill that void, but it will come down to whether he can bring anything else to the table.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.