2020-21 Rockets roster review, offseason outlook: Armoni Brooks

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Rockets Player: Armoni Brooks, 6-foot-3 guard, 22 years old

Statistics in Houston: 11.2 points (38.2% on 3-pointers), 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists in 26.0 minutes per game

Professional Experience: One NBA season, two NBA G League seasons; went undrafted in 2019

Contract Status: Played on two-way contract in 2020-21, does not yet have a deal for 2021-22. Houston can make him a restricted free agent.

In his first NBA season after going undrafted out of college, Brooks set a record for the most made 3-pointers (60) over the first 20 games of any NBA player’s career. Though he doesn’t currently have a contract for the 2021-22 season, Brooks recently indicated that he expects to work out with the Rockets in the offseason and play on Houston’s Summer League team, which competes in Las Vegas from Aug. 8-17.

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Armoni Brooks targets defense, strength in offseason work with Rockets

2020-21 Rockets roster review, offseason outlook: Sterling Brown

Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klW8l-vFLW8

Analysis

The shooting is already there for Brooks, who connected on 38.2% from 3-point range with the Rockets despite having a very high volume of 7.9 attempts per game. His quick release allows him to fire away with less separation than most, and his willingness to move away from the ball makes him an ideal fit for head coach Stephen Silas — whose offenses prioritize 3-point shooting and extensive ball/player movement. The question is whether Brooks can become a more well-rounded player, rather than simply a shooter. He said going into the offseason that he plans to focus on developing defense and strength, with a desire of becoming a "3&D" player. As an example, Brooks pointed to veteran Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday as someone whose upper-body strength was too much to handle during his first season with the Rockets.

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On paper, it makes perfect sense as a developmental goal. The challenge will be for Brooks to gain that added strength without compromising any of the athletic traits that have led to his success on offense.

Outlook

Though he doesn't yet have a contract for 2021-22, Brooks has already said that he plans to work out with the Rockets in the offseason (so that the team can monitor his development) and play with their Summer League squad. That doesn't suggest that he wants to be anywhere else. Moreover, at just 22, Brooks is at a point in his NBA career where playing time and opportunity are typically more important than trying to win a championship. Thus, he doesn't fit the mold of a player who might leave the rebuilding Rockets to chase a ring somewhere else. Brooks wants to prove that he's an NBA player, and Houston's status near the league's basement presents opportunities that many other teams can't offer. Silas' system seems to be a strong fit for his shooting profile, too. Finally, even if Brooks wanted to leave for whatever reason, the Rockets will be able to make him a restricted free agent — which would allow them to match any outside offer and still retain him. https://twitter.com/BimaThug/status/1390793302132379648 In theory, there's a price point at which Houston general manager Rafael Stone wouldn't match on Brooks. After all, as part of their rebuilding plan, the Rockets are prioritizing financial flexibility to pursue elite talents in future offseasons. While Brooks has shown flashes of being a capable NBA player, he certainly doesn't appear to be a superstar — and the Rockets wouldn't want to significantly harm their ability to add one down the line for the sake of keeping Brooks. With that said, it's hard to see that scenario becoming reality in the 2021 offseason. Brooks has only played 20 career NBA games, and those came on the league's worst team of the 2020-21 season. He's less than two years from when the entire NBA passed on him in the 2019 draft. While impressive, it's hard to envision that late-season run in Houston suddenly drawing the type of major financial bid to make the Rockets back away. The likely outcome is Brooks signing a two- or three-year developmental contract with the Rockets, similar to Jae'Sean Tate and KJ Martin. https://twitter.com/RooshWilliams/status/1396862722923503621

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