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Goran Dragic Killing It (Not Really) In Houston While Brooks Fails To Impress In Phoenix

Here's some great news for the large contingent of Goran Dragic fans still in Phoenix -- the kid's playing really well for the Houston Rockets who are still very much in the hunt for the last playoff spot. Aaron Brooks, however, has increased his shooting percentage but failed to provide the consistent scoring punch off the bench the Suns were looking for when they trade Dragic AND a 1st round pick to get him.

Since the trade the Rockets (40-36) are 12-5 with Dragic. The Suns (37-38) are 9-11.

Here's what Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports says about both guys:

Catching up with the trade deadline 'dealt' in the West - Ball Don't Lie - NBA Blog - Yahoo! Sports

Goran Dragic, Houston Rockets The athletic guard has been a huge part of Houston's turnaround over the past month, as his offense has shot way up following the trade that sent him from Phoenix to Houston. Dragic is making a ridiculous 55 percent of his 3-pointers as a member of the Rockets, who have boasted the NBA's best statistical offense since the trade deadline. He's dropped his turnovers, too.

Aaron Brooks, Phoenix Suns Last year's Most Improved Player has turned his year around in Phoenix statistically, raising his 3-point percentage back up to 37 as a member of the Suns. But his decision-making and defense remain as dodgy as ever, and the Suns are reeling.

More fun facts after the jump...

Goran Dragic with the Rockets

  • Shooting .567 from three up from .277. Even his free throw shooting has improved from .608 to .724
  • Assists are down from 3.1 to 1.7 per game but I'm told that's because the Rockets don't run any pick and roll. His turnovers are down as well from 2 per game to 1.
  • Dragic is now scoring a career-high 19.7 points per 36 minutes. He was at 14.8 per 36 as a Suns this season.
  • With the Rockets, Dragic has a career-high PER of 18.2
  • Not only has Dragic played well, but SB Nation Houston says the moving Brooks has made Kyle Lowry better:

The Real Winner Of The Aaron Brooks Trade? Kyle Lowry - SB Nation Houston
Can you imagine if Lowry had been the guy at the beginning of the year? The Rockets might already be in the playoffs instead of wasting so many minutes on Brooks.

Brooks with the Suns
  • Brooks is also shooting better after the trade: 3P% up to .346 from .284 although for some reason his free throw shooting took a dive from .940 to .778.
  • While Goran Dragic saw his assist and turnover drop when he went from the Suns pick and roll system, Brooks hasn't seen any increase in either number.
  • Brooks' PER has gone from 11.8 with the Rockets to 17.4 with the Suns.
Bottom line, the Suns traded Brooks to take some pressure of Nash but that didn't work. During the crucial stretch when the Suns were in the playoff hunt, Nash wasn't able to play less minutes and when he missed a few games, Brooks didn't step up.

More recently during a painful four-game losing streak, both Lon Babby and Alvin Gentry stated on multiple occasions that they weren't happy with the bench scoring during the early part of the fourth quarters (aka Brooks' time).

Since coming to the Suns, Brooks has managed to get himself suspended once and ejected from two games. In my observations, his teammates aren't gelling with him on the floor at all and frankly seem much more happy playing with Zabian Dowdell.

In last night's game against the Clippers, Brooks and Dowdell each played 24 minutes. Zabian, a much better defender than Brooks, had 5 assists compared to 6 for Aaron and Dowdell out-scored Brooks 14 to 12. If you watch the Jared Dudley and Alvin Gentry postgame videos you will see both mention Zabian for praise and don't say a word about Brooks.

To make matters worse, the buzz is that Brooks isn't happy coming off the bench and has a very high opinion of himself. He certainly doesn't strike me as a guy that would be a good fit for the culture of this team moving forward.

I never liked this trade, but I didn't expect it to go this bad. I thought Brooks would be a good locker room guy and put up points on a regular basis. Neither turned out to be true.

Meanwhile, in a different system Dragic is thriving which is an indictment on the Suns with some shared responsibility on Goran as well.

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