For the first time in program history, Oregon has five individuals preparing for the 2017 NBA Draft. The greatest team in program history was loaded with professional talent, such as Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis. I will be previewing them in that order this week, as we prepare for the NBA Draft on June 22..
With our third NBA Draft Profile, we evaluate Mr. Clutch. The 2017 Pac-12 Player of the Year was brilliant for three seasons in Oregon before heading to the NBA. Brooks was the star of stars on a team filled with them.
He was measured at 6-foot-6 from the NBA Combine in Chicago last month. Of course, Duck fans know he plays much bigger than his height would indicate. However, NBA scouts and GM’s were discouraged by his 6-foot-7 measured wingspan.
For a majority of his career, Brooks was playing and guarding the power forward position. Quite the feat for somebody undersized. I don’t think anything will change at the next level except for the negative opinions on Brooks’ game due to his size.
His internal motivation is second to none. Jordan Bell has the high character. Chris Boucher never gives up. Brooks has more passion and desire to win than most players in the league. His ability to motivate himself for every game exhibits his mentality.
Brooks was the utility man with the Ducks. On any given night, he would fill the void with his team en route to victory. Over the last two years, Brooks led Oregon to an incredible 64-13 record, including 35-0 at home in Eugene.
“I just go out there and try to prove the odds are against me,” Brooks stated. “I been doing it all year round my years at Oregon. My years as a basketball player. Just keep trying to strive to be the greatest.”
He is a multifaceted basketball player who can do everything on a basketball floor. The Canadian has a great jump shot that he can rely on at the next level. It is steady and consistent. His efficiency from the field and willingness to draw fouls limits his slumps.
When challenged to defend, aside from Bell, there is nobody who steps up to the plate like Brooks. As a defender, his feet are quick. He has speed down the floor with long strides and has a physically imposing lower body. He’s not afraid to bang around under the rim and embraces contact. He will actively seek the more physical route to the rim.
DB is beyond versatile. He can play every position but center, and we even saw him undertake that job during certain moments of his career. He is a hybrid of a guard and forward and he can handle point guard/forward duties on a regular basis.
“I’m the most versatile player in the draft,” said Brooks.
Every defense this season focused their attention to stopping Brooks. He is an incredibly unselfish superstar who allows his teammates to shine.
He can create his own shot. When he penetrates the lane, good things happen. Usually he will finish with some thunder, but he will dish it off when easy buckets present themselves. Brooks is vastly more explosive than given credit for and is a better athlete than most think.
When his team wasn’t relying on him to carry the offensive load, Brooks could shut down an opponents best player with his sterling defense. He has a rebounding prowess that has always been there. On occasion, he will block a shot or two when necessary.
Illustrating his all-around game, Brooks scored 17 points, alongside nine boards and five dimes to lead the way in Game 1 from the NBA Combine on May 9-14.
At times, he can get carried away with “heat checks” from deep downtown. His efficiency may slide at times with the number of shots his team asks him to take.
Use Russell Westbrook as an example. He may have to shoot 35 times a game, but who else on his team is going to score? More times than not, the team would rather he shoot it than anybody else. The same philosophy works with Dillon and the Ducks.
He is a very excitable person. He needs to learn to harness his energy. My greatest example of this is his propensity to get himself into foul trouble. At times, they were senseless fouls that forced him from the game and swung the momentum.
I am not saying Brooks needs to lose intensity on the defensive end when nearing foul trouble, but he can afford to be more cautious. I will say though, I have never seen any player attack the game as fearlessly as he does.
On more than a few occasions, I saw him flying around with four fouls like nothing was wrong. That is what makes him great. Discipline would keep him on the floor longer.
Like Bell, the greatest negative facing DB entering the NBA Draft is his size. Most people didn’t take the All-American seriously when he declared for the draft.
I guess it was somebody else drilling a 30-foot buzzer-beater over the projected No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball. You would think a fearless player like that would be more highly rated. I guess Brooks will have to prove himself once again at the next level.
This is one item that is not questioned by anyone who has ever met Dillon Brooks. He would play every second of every game if his body allowed it. Since working with a trainer on a regular basis, he will have that opportunity moving forward.
Statistically, Brooks averaged 16.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.1 SPG over the 2016-17 regular season. He shot 40 percent from 3-point territory, alongside a healthy 53 percent from the field. Not to mention, Brooks was a 79 percent free throw shooter during his 3-year college career.
Brooks leaves the program having scored 1,612 career points for the Ducks. He led his No. 1 seed Duck team to an Elite Eight appearance in 2015-16. He followed that with Oregon’s first Final Four appearance in 77 years in 2016-17. The Ducks achieved (33-6) their greatest basketball season in program history.
His numbers may not set the world on fire, but Brooks was focused on more than his stats last season. The hybrid star endured offseason foot surgery which forced him to miss game action to start his junior campaign.
“It’s been a grind, but it’s what I learned at Oregon,” said Brooks in reference to his 10 NBA workouts. “Trying to find ways to separate ourselves from the others. They want what you’re good at. It only takes one team to love you.”
If he were to focus his attention on total points, he may have led the nation in scoring. However, winning was more important to him. Some NBA teams value that more, especially the ones that win.
Most want to focus on his numbers or the three game-winning buzzer-beaters during his junior year, but that’s not all Brooks is as a player. He understands the game and craves winning. He is comfortable when the stakes are at their highest.
In a clear “trap” game before No. 5 Arizona visited Eugene in less than 48 hours, Oregon found themselves down 12 to Arizona State with a few minutes left in the game. Moments later, the Ducks were walking off the floor victorious 71-70 thanks to DB.
Brooks scored the last 12 points of the game for a slim Duck win. That is Dillon Brooks on a random Thursday night in February. And that is the difference between him and everyone else.
Brooks always matched up against the best player from the other team. A majority of the time, he won that individual showdown.
“Dillon is a competitor. He is going to try and win every drill,” said Bell of his former teammate. “He demands perfection from everybody.”
Brooks can guard any position on the floor. He moves his feet very well and fluidly, enabling him the ability to defend smaller players. His strong lower body enables him the ability to guard either forward position. The value for being able to defend anyone on the floor is immeasurable.
He needs to get in better shape. He reminds me of Carmelo Anthony when he entered the league as a title-winning freshman out of Syracuse. Once Melo was able to train on a regular basis, he was able to play longer at a higher level. Aside from that, there is not much that needs desperate improvement. He is a solid all-around basketball player.
This is what separates Brooks from the pack. His effort and relentless competitiveness defines him. No matter the event, Brooks wants to win at everything. He carries this attitude with him onto the court. Whether it’s a Wednesday night in October or a Sunday in March, the effort is always the same.
Brooks’ flexibility and versatility may be one of his best traits. Deciphering between the two would only hurt him. Oregon actually plays a slower defensive game and more uptempo offensive scheme. He can play in any system.
I believe Brooks was cut from the same mold as Paul George and Jimmy Butler. They are multidimensional players that create space and opportunities for their teammates. Interestingly enough, the Pacers are one of the teams interested in the Pac-12 POY.
At times, Brooks reminds me of Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson or Carmelo. Sometimes, 6-foot-5 Mitch Richmond comes to mind. Regardless, it’s never a role player.
No matter the question with Brooks, he will always have the final answer. I don’t see anyone preventing him from becoming a star at the next level. Everything right now reminds me of his freshman year at UO when nobody expected anything from him.
NBA DRAFT PROJECTION
After his teammate Bell will be drafted in the first round, Brooks will be the next Duck to drop. I can see Brooks falling anywhere from the No. 20 overall pick with the Portland Trail Blazers to the end of the second round.
He has worked out for 11 teams already and has three remaining for a grand total of 14 teams (nearly half the NBA). For a player disrespected by so many, he certainly has more workouts than any other college player.
In total, three teams make perfect sense. Four teams if Gordon Hayward leaves Utah. The Phoenix Suns are very intriguing from a schematic standpoint. The Suns play a very similar system to Oregon and Brooks would really not have to change his style. The uptempo attack would be a huge advantage for Brooks.
“I’m the most versatile player in the draft,” said Brooks.
The Chicago Bulls are another landing spot that would be ideal. With age becoming a huge concern for the Bulls, alongside the future of Jimmy Butler, they are in desperate need of a scorer at the guard or forward spot. Brooks would seamlessly slide into the starting line-up if any of their starters leave this offseason.
Overall, the perfect landing spot for DB is just 110 miles from his college stomping grounds. You guessed it, the Portland Trail Blazers. With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum already in place, Brooks could squeeze right into the scoring mix.
The Blazers have three first round selections (15, 20, 26) and have zero picks in the second round. Therefore, if they want any Ducks, they’re going to grab them early or trade down in the draft. This is a legitimate landing spot for the versatile All-American.
My sleeper are the Philadelphia 76ers. Sure, they have big men galore. Yet, they are lacking a shooting guard, small forward depending on where Ben Simmons will play. DB is better than Gerald Henderson and Robert Covington, plus he can play the two guard with Simmons at small forward. I don’t see the No. 1 overall heading to Philly next year.
DILLON BROOKS SCHEDULED WORKOUTS (11 + 3)
May 17 - Indiana Pacers
May 22 - Toronto Raptors
June 5 - Utah Jazz
June 7 - Phoenix Suns
June 9 - Portland Trail Blazers
June 16 - Philadelphia 76ers
SAVING HIS BEST FOR LAST
Video courtesy of ReBorn HD Highlights via YouTube
Video courtesy of Sports Replay via YouTube
My next NBA Draft Profile: Tyler Dorsey will be published on Saturday at ATQ.