In my Houston Rockets season preview, I had identified the maturation of Aaron Brooks as the single most critical personnel development theme for the year.
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers.
Nothing really jumps out here except that he struggled mightily in November and has been on a tear in his last 5 games. I was surprised to see that he was scoring at nearly the same clip in wins and losses. I assumed there would be greater disparity.
In terms of his shooting, except for November, you can see he’s been fairly consistent over the duration of the year. However, despite scoring at nearly the same clip, you can see that there is a pretty substantial drop-off in his shooting from wins to losses. Perhaps even more interestingly, despite the gaudy point totals, his shooting in his last 5 games has been on par with his overall season averages.
Taking a look at the shot attempts, we see that they have stayed roughly the same during wins and losses, but have gone up considerably in his last 5 games. Unfortunately, it seems that rather than improved play, more chucking is the driving force behind Aaron’s recent ‘surge.’
I also thought it would behoove us to compare his performance thus far to last season’s playoffs. The ’09 playoffs serve as an appropriate barometer for Brooks’ growth because, as I have explained in the past, the matchups were conducive to production inflation. Blake and Fisher are the two worst starting point guards in the league so it doesn’t tell us much that Aaron exploded against them. We wanted to see how he would fare this year against the rest of the league in relation to that production against the most favorable circumstances.
We see that his usage has gone slightly up while his shooting has gone slightly down. However, he has assisted on a far greater percentage of the team’s plays. With that said, I would not necessarily attribute this to improved playmaking abilities – he simply has the ball in his hands a far greater amount of the time with the absence of Yao Ming.