Memphis Grizzlies Make Sure to Embarrass Dillion Brooks On His Way Out
By Kyle Koster
Anyone paying any attention to the Dillion Brooks experience over the past few months — and really, who could miss the spectacular self-owning — was under the assumption the Memphis Grizzlies wouldn't be inviting him back. Because why would they after he barked his head off in the direction of the NBA's alpha dog and made the biggest on-court contribution by doinking LeBron James in the junk. He became the poster dude for a franchise that talked a big game and then shrunk as soon as anything meaningful was within reach.
In short, it's been a precipitous fall of his own making. Lest you think we're talking some gratuitous shots here, take a look at how the organization confirmed these suspicions both behind closed doors and in the court of public opinion.
By informing Brooks that he will not be brought back under any circumstances, per a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Shams' piece contains an efficient tick-tock of the situation Memphis found itself in, and why this was essentially the only decision to make.
Brooks’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers was considered to be a breaking point. In the span of the Grizzlies’ series loss in six games, he called LeBron James, the Lakers’ best player and a four-time NBA champion, “old,” “tired,” and suggested he was not as good as he used to be. Brooks punched James in the groin area in Game 3, earning an ejection. He missed a defensive assignment to help on James on the game-tying basket in Game 4, and then gave up a critical basket to James in overtime of that loss. Brooks also chose not to speak to the media after three of the losses in the series, resulting in a $25,000 fine by the NBA.
The Lakers also left Brooks open during the series and dared him to shoot, using the extra defender to keep All-Star Ja Morant from driving or to blitz Desmond Bane on the perimeter. Brooks shot 31.2 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from 3-point land in the series while averaging 10.5 points and shooting nearly 13 shots per game.
Usually in these situations we fire up a possible destinations post for those sweet, sweet clicks. In this case we could only come up with the Cleveland Cavaliers but then did the Brian Windhorst thing and asked now why would they even do that when his shooting has been so spotty.
However you feel about Brooks — and pretty much everyone feels the same way — there's no denying that he was playing at a high level not so long ago.
Some are speculating that Brooks can't come back from this. But he's only 27 years-old and has shown the ability to be a top-level defender. A cynic could survey the moving pieces here and see Memphis scapegoating an easy scapegoat when the Ja Morant thing was far more determinative in the team taking a step back this season in embarrassing fashion.
This is probably the lowest point of Brooks' career, which means it's time for a reinvention and an opportunity to try a different tact with a different organization. Considering some of the hyperbole out there suggesting he'll be resigned to playing overseas, it might be smart to buy the dip.
But damn it's quite a dip.