Could the Denver Nuggets buy-low on Dillon Brooks?

Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on 3 May 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on 3 May 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

After undercutting Gary Payton II on a layup, committing a flagrant two foul, and injuring the defensive guard, things aren’t going great for Dillon Brooks right now. With help needed on the perimeter, should the Denver Nuggets make a trade for the fifth-year wing this offseason?

Brooks returned from suspension in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors and after being showered with boos every time he touched the ball, Dillon ended the game with 12 points on 5-19 from the floor and 2-9 from the 3-point line.

If Dillon Brooks shoots the ball as well as he thinks he does, then the Memphis Grizzlies probably go on to win this game, but unfortunately, he doesn’t.

In a 3-1 hole and with an injured Ja Morant, the writing’s on the wall for the Grizz and it’s looking like their season will come to an end. And with that, Memphis will join the Denver Nuggets in the offseason as both teams look to make a serious push next season.

But before next season, Tim Connelly and this Nuggets front office need to address some of the issues with this roster. Dillon Brooks might be able to plug some of those holes.

What would Dillon Brooks do for the Denver Nuggets?

This season, Dillon Brooks averaged 18.4 points, 2.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in 32 games for the Memphis Grizzlies. He missed a majority of the season with an ankle issue but when he played, he showed some major improvements on his game.

One of the best and worst parts about his game is how confident he is. Yes, it’s great to have confidence on the court but Dillon shoots some horrible shots out there, shots that are out of the flow of the offense and barring the tiny percentage of makes, aren’t great looks.

In the second round series against the Golden State Warriors, Brooks is averaging 6.7 points per game and 3.7 assists while shooting 23 percent from the floor and 22 percent from the 3-point line. It’s not looking good.

But maybe that’s exactly why he’d be great with the Denver Nuggets. If Brooks is traded to Denver after a lackluster showing with the Grizzlies, he might realize he has to reign things in on the court. On top of that, Brooks would have to play alongside Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Jamal Murray. Surely he realizes that he’s at the most, fourth in that pecking order.

If he focuses on taking shots the offense creates for him and playing solid defense, something he is known for, then he’s an exceptional role player.

At 6’5″, Brooks is tall enough to guard wings but agile enough to hang with the smaller guards. His primary task in the second round of the playoffs has been Stephen Curry.

In the 2021-22 regular season, Brooks has held opponents to 4.4 points less per 100 possessions according to Cleaning the Glass and he forces turnovers 2.2 percent more of the time when he’s on the court, a top-ten percentile mark among all wings.

More importantly, he’s active on defense and it’s clear that he cares about that end of the ball. If Michael Malone could morph that effort with the Denver Nuggets and tone down his offensive aggression, the Nuggets could be buying low on one of the best 3-and-D wings in the making.

Possible trades the Denver Nuggets can make for Dillon Brooks

The Denver Nuggets have signaled that they’re willing to put assets on the table if it makes this team better. In his end-of-season press conference, general manager Calvin Booth said that Denver isn’t “married” to keeping their first-round pick in the 2022 draft.

So that’s out there as a trade asset.

But that’s where the benefit in a Dillon Brooks trade comes in. With his value at an all-time low right now following the hard foul and disastrous playoff showing, the Nuggets might not have to part ways with draft capital to get a deal done.

One trade that works is a straight swap for Will Barton:

Will Barton might be an odd man out in Denver next season with plenty of ball-handling and elite scoring on the roster. As an offense-first player, Barton’s fit is tricky in the starting and closing lineups because Malone doesn’t need more creators next to Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray, he needs off-ball scoring and defense.

One could argue that Brooks brings similar issues with Barton, both are shot happy and have been known to look for their own basket outside of the flow of the offense. I know I’d be quite upset if I saw Brooks hoist a contested 3-pointer when Jamal or Jokic was open.

Then again, I already get frustrated seeing Barton do it now, at least Dillon has the reputation of defense.

This next deal saves Denver a roster spot while also holding onto a tradeable salary of Barton for the rest of the offseason:

This is the deal that the Grizzlies are more likely to think about as well. While Brooks’ time in Memphis might be ending, they’d at least hope to secure some young player or asset moving forward. In this deal, Zeke Nnaji is that asset.

JaMychal Green has a player option for next season worth $8.7 million which might be more than he’d get from any team in free agency so I’m assuming he’s picking it up here before being traded.

He’d give Memphis some more functional big man depth and maybe even some regular-season injury insurance behind Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams, and Brandon Clarke. But really, how important is that?

Nnaji, who hasn’t proven much in his short time in the league, would be more of an asset in this deal. If Memphis is privately fans of his game, then this deal looks good. If they’re not fans of a player averaging 4.9 points in two seasons, I’m not surprised.

To sweeten the pot, Denver could throw in their own first-round pick this draft. But if Denver’s willing to part with a first-round pick, Zeke, and salary, they might be able to trade for someone better than a undervalued Dillon Brooks. If this is what it takes, is it worth the risk?

Next. Three teams that could trade for MPJ this offseason. dark