The Wolves have settled on their third point guard after bringing in numerous candidates for workouts over the past couple of weeks.
According to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, point guard Aaron Brooks is expected to sign with the team for the veterans minimum before training camp opens up this Saturday in San Diego.
Darren Wolfson of KSTP and 1500 ESPN also hinted at this acquisition happening last night.
Expect an Aaron Brooks' signing by camp opening, it likely will be only one they'll make for now— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) September 21, 2017
This still holds true from last night. Look for it to happen and for him to be on the court w/ the #Twolves Saturday. https://t.co/PC0JJ2vSln— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) September 21, 2017
Brooks is the latest former Thibs player to join the new era Wolves. He logged 1,885 minutes under Tom Thibodeau during the 2014-15 season in Chicago.
What should we expect from Brooks?
Up until this point, third-year point guard Tyus Jones appeared to have the backup point guard spot locked up behind starter and free agent addition, Jeff Teague. (Side note: Teague and Brooks were teammates in Indiana last season.) While that still is most likely the case—and Jones certainly appears to be the much better choice given his age, 21, upside, and production in limited minutes over his first two NBA seasons—Brooks is now his main competition for the backup role.
At age 32, Brooks appears to offer the most as a floor spacer. The Wolves needed to add another point guard and three-point shooter to the mix before entering the season. Brooks checks off those boxes. He hit 48-128 from beyond the arc in 65 games for the Pacers over the course of 894 minutes during the 2016-17 season, and over his nine year NBA career he has shot 37 percent from deep. He’s also a good free-throw shooter (career: 83.9%) and averages 5.2 assists per 36 minutes.
Now for the bad: the addition of Brooks likely means the bench is adding another poor defender to the mix. His defensive box plus minus over his career is -2.4, while his defensive real plus minus ranked 61st among 82 qualified point guards last season at -1.47. Jones, who is often criticized for his defense, ranked 28th overall (-0.34) and Teague ranked 25th (-0.22) in the same statistic. This, of course, is only one defensive metric with plenty of critics who dispute its usefulness. But it’s something for us to look at and think about. Brooks obviously doesn’t favor nearly as well in this statistic compared to the other two point guards he will join in Minneapolis.
Brooks has also not seen his PER (player efficiency rating) above 15.0, that’s the league average, since 2010-11. He will not get to the free throw line very often (1.6 attempts per 36 minutes last season) though that isn’t a big issue on a team that should live at the charity stripe. As a whole, this is what a lot of teams can expect to get with the veterans minimum. He is more of a three-point specialist than anything else at this point. Can he still be a playmaker? Is he fine with collecting DNP-CD’s? Brooks does have the added benefit of previously playing under Thibodeau for a season and he is another veteran who brings plenty of NBA experience to the locker room. But this move kind of makes me shrug my shoulders...meh.
If he can space the floor and hit threes when called upon, Aaron Brooks could be a decent signing for the team. This is a pretty low-risk move altogether and one that more than likely will have an extremely minimal effect on how the season plays out, unless an injury happens that thrusts him into a larger role or he is surprisingly called upon to log more minutes ahead of Tyus Jones. It’s possible, but Jones still seems like he’s in line to be the backup point guard on opening night. The preseason games should help hash some of this out, but Thibs seemed to gain more trust in Jones as last season progressed for whatever it’s worth.
Hopefully Brooks can hit a few big shots for the team this season...