» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 132 | NO. 209 | Friday, October 20, 2017

Dillon Brooks Injects Hope, Excitement into Grizzlies’ Season

By Don Wade

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

The rookie admitted there was at least a moment of concern. Dillon Brooks would score 19 points with five rebounds, four steals, mostly look like he had been playing in the NBA for about 10 years, and his team would win on opening night.

Memphis Grizzlies rookie Dillon Brooks (24) scored 19 points with five rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks in the team’s season-opening 103-91 win over New Orleans on Oct. 18. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

But, yes, the brightest new light on the Grizzlies’ stage did have a moment of worry. He was caught in the lane with the ball, in traffic, really had nowhere to go. So Brooks spun and shot a fade-away. To be honest, it was a shot that, as it was happening, looked like something straight out of the departed Wade Baldwin’s bag of bad decisions.

Except, this shot went through the basket. Except, on the night, in a 103-91 victory over New Orleans at FedExForum, Dillon Brooks hit 7-of-13 shots from the field. And got to the free-throw line as much as anybody, and like veteran Mike Conley made 5-of-7 at the line.

Young Dillon Brooks even had the best +/- of the night at +17. That was better than Conley, who scored 27 points. Or the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, who finished with 33 points and 18 rebounds, or DeMarcus Cousins, who had 28 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.

Still, there was that moment when Brooks wondered what might happen. If his night was about to be done.

“On the post fade-away, I was a little scared,” he said. “I was like, `I’ve got to make this shot or Coach Fizz (David Fizdale) is taking me out.’ But it just felt natural and I just took what the defense gave me, and my teammates just kept giving me the ball.”

And afterward, praise.

“Man, somebody made a mistake not drafting him (sooner),” Conley said. “He can play.”

Brooks, who is 6-5 and can play shooting guard or small forward, played collegiately at Oregon. The Houston Rockets took him in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft (45th overall) and traded him to the Grizzlies. An afterthought, in other words.

But he accomplished more in the first 29 minutes and 25 seconds of his NBA career than Baldwin did all last season; Baldwin, a 2016 first-round pick (17th overall) was cut at the end of preseason despite clear athletic gifts because he never showed signs of looking like Brooks did on opening night: under control as one piece of the team puzzle and not obsessed with showing out.

“He doesn’t make many mistakes, and that’s really good,” center Marc Gasol said. “He’s not afraid to shoot it and he has a great instinct for the game. On both ends of the floor. He uses his body defensively. Really good.”

Understand, Gasol does not give up such comments about young players – much less a rookie on opening night – unless they are earned.

Big picture, Brooks was part of a 53-point effort by the bench. Guard Tyreke Evans, in his first game as a Grizzly, scored 11 points, forward Brandan Wright finished with 10 points, Chandler Parsons had six points, Mario Chalmers chipped in five points with four assists and Jarell Martin had two points and five rebounds.

“I’ve just got a lot of confidence in him,” coach David Fizdale said of the rookie. “We’ve got some things we want to work on with him and develop, but I trust him in a game.”

Brooks’ breakout coincided with Tony Allen’s return to Memphis. Allen, too, was impressed.

“Yeah, Dillon Brooks has got a lot of TA in him,” Allen said. “He’s a weapon, I’ll you that.”

One even the Grizzlies didn’t see coming?

“I don’t expect (these kinds of numbers),” Fizdale said, “but it’s not like it was a surprise.”

It is also just one game, the first game. But perhaps most encouraging is that Brooks filled up multiple categories in the stat sheet. He also had two assists and two blocks. It wasn’t just about scoring.

Brooks can contribute, it would seem, even on nights when his shot – be it a jumper on the perimeter or a tough fade-away in the lane – is not falling.

“I just try to find a way to impact the game,” he said.

And if opening night is any indication, perhaps the season.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289