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Reporter explains why Grizzlies wanted to move on from Dillon Brooks

Dillon Brooks in a jersey

Mar 13, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) walks back up the court during the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies parted ways with Dillon Brooks this offseason, which apparently was something they had on their mind for a while.

Brooks was acquired by the Grizzlies on draft night in 2017 and played the first six seasons of his career with the team. He drew attention for his tenacious attitude and bold personality. He also averaged 14.5 points per game with the Grizzlies, which is more than what most second-round picks typically achieve.

Brooks became known for his technical fouls, headline-making comments, and confident style both on and off the court. Some of that behavior appeared to backfire during the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers in April.

Many people felt that the way Brooks had behaved in the Lakers series — calling out LeBron James and then failing to back up his talk — might have triggered the Grizzlies to determine they were done with the young guard. But one reporter says that is not necessarily the case.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon appeared on Tuesday’s episode of “The Lowe Post” podcast and talked about Brooks, who was sent to the Houston Rockets in a sign-and-trade deal on July 1.

MacMahon says the reasons the Grizzlies wanted to part ways with Brooks are “misunderstood.” MacMahon says it was Brooks’ shot selection that was the big problem more so than his mouth during the Lakers series.

“I think the reasons the Grizzlies were ready to move on from him are misunderstood,” MacMahon said on the podcast, as transcribed by Real GM. “The nonsense was kind of like at a point where culturally it was time. That was not the primary reason.

“The primary reason the Grizzlies were trying to replace Dillon Brooks for a full two years, repeatedly going after players that would have replaced him in the trade market — and he probably would have been sent out — was because of the shot selection issue. Dillon did not want to be a fourth or fifth offensive weapon.”

Though MacMahon says the reason the Grizzlies wanted to get rid of Brooks are “misunderstood,” everything kind of goes hand-in-hand.

The self-confidence that leads Brooks to challenge a player like LeBron is the same self-confidence that leads Brooks to feel he is a top offensive weapon, worthy of attempting several shots per game. Though those actions can lead to poor consequences for his team, that self-confidence has also allowed Brooks to exceed expectations as a second-round pick and be able to become a top defender.

The question for the Rockets and potentially other teams is whether Brooks can improve his shot selection, or whether the 27-year-old “is what he is,” meaning you have to take the good with the bad.

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