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Pac-12 in the NBA: Dillon Brooks

Dillon Brooks was the last Duck to be drafted, but the elite scorer is ready to prove he belongs

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Oregon vs Iona Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

He wasn’t taken until halfway through the second round, but the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year will begin his career with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Dillon Brooks was drafted with the 45th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Houston Rockets, but his draft rights were promptly traded to Memphis afterwards.

Being a second round pick in the NBA is always difficult, players have to work hard just to have their names called to play a couple of minutes per game. Even once that player sets foot on the court, it’s even harder to contribute anything meaningful in such a short amount of time. This process will be no different for Brooks.

Brooks may be able to find his spot with Memphis quickly, as he excels where Memphis struggles the most, scoring. Brooks was the leading scorer on a Final Four squad, averaging 16.1 points-per-game in his junior year at Oregon. He had 13 games where he scored 20 or more points. He was probably Oregon’s most efficient wing scorer, shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three point range. What Brooks brings to the table could be a welcome addition to a team that ranks 29th in scoring.

Whenever Oregon needed someone to come up big, the team was able to rely on Brooks time and time again. He hit game winning threes against UCLA and California, and scored 12 in a row for the Ducks to end a February game agains Arizona State. Brooks gained a reputation as one of the most clutch players in the country, and teams were determined to make any player other than him to be the one to beat them.

This is what had to happen during the NCAA Tournament, as Brooks was unable to keep the same scoring touch that he had during the regular season. His numbers dropped to 37 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from three. This cold stretch in the biggest moment could be some cause for concern for the Grizzlies, as there will be more pressure in an NBA game than any time he was in college, but Brooks has risen to the occasion enough times to set those worries aside.

However, Brooks’ game does have some issues that could be worth dwelling on. He’s only 6-foot-7, which is fine for a full-time small forward, but Brooks started over half the season at power forward. The Ducks just decided to go with a smaller rotation, but Brooks fit the role well. His athleticism is between that of a small forward and a power forward which could actually hurt him. He was a solid defender in college, but if he is unable to keep up with other players at the three, and isn’t tall enough to defend the post, he could end up being a liability on the defensive end.

Brooks will have his shot on the Grizzlies, but he likely won’t ever be more than a bench scorer. He doesn’t do too much other than score, but he did that so well that it made him a finalist for the Wooden Award. On a team like Memphis, who is always looking for new scorers to add to its low-scoring offense, Brooks can hope to be a welcome addition who will see the floor early in the 2018 season.