Even as Stephen Curry has continued splashing three-pointers and Jimmy Butler has continued building the legacy of “Playoff Jimmy”, no player has dominated the headlines during this year’s NBA playoffs more than Dillon Brooks. The now-former Memphis Grizzlies swingman made waves by publicly calling LeBron James old and then proceeded to play some of the worst basketball of his career. With his recent antics securing him a one-way ticket out of Memphis, Brooks now hits the open market at age 27. While he certainly did himself no favors in recent weeks, some team will take a chance on adding him. Should that team be the Charlotte Hornets?
First, let us examine Dillon Brooks as a basketball player. Now entering his seventh season in the league, Brooks has carved out a role as a solid perimeter defender who has shown that he can knock down outside shots, although he does so less consistently than he ideally would. He regressed in 2023 compared to 2022, as his scoring, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage all declined. Brooks was even worse during Memphis’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, as he averaged 10.5 points while shooting 31.2% from the field and 23.8% from three-point range. Self-awareness was an on-court issue for Brooks, as his tendency to stop the ball disrupted the Grizzlies’ offense at points during the season.
That said, Charlotte would not be looking to add Brooks for his offense. Brooks’ defense is what keeps him on the floor, and at 6-foot-7, he provides length and can be tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best wing player. The Hornets made improvements on defense under Steve Clifford this season, but they still lack a true wing defender like Brooks. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier are a less-than ideal defensive backcourt, making it all the more important that Charlotte put good defenders alongside them.
Of course, any discussion about Brooks must involve his extracurricular activities. Beyond the immaturity he displayed during the playoffs, Brooks has also garnered a reputation of being a dirty player who goes out of his way to be an agitator to the opposition. The ongoing pattern of behavior from Brooks has earned him a reputation of being a villian, something that may deter teams from adding him. Whether or not it would deter the Hornets is yet to be seen.
Yes, the Charlotte Hornets should try to sign Dillon Brooks
Despite his frustrating play and his pattern of immaturity, the Hornets should sign Dillon Brooks if they are able to. Charlotte has never been a free agent destination, so the chance to add a player at a steep discount should not be taken lightly. The deal would make sense for both sides; Charlotte should be looking to add talent however they can, while Brooks could benefit from some image rehabilitation while playing for a team that largely stays out of the national spotlight. While Mitch Kupchak recently said that the Hornets would not be looking to go “big game hunting” in free agency, Brooks could be a worthwhile buy-low option for Charlotte to pursue.