MarShon Brooks is a scoring machine. In his senior year at Providence University in 2010-11, he absolutely set the Big East on fire, averaging 26.2 points per contest on better than 48 percent shooting, including a 52-point explosion against the Georgetown Hoyas. The 6’5″ shooting guard was about as polished a product coming out of college offensively as you will ever see, with a well-rounded game predicated on his incredible craftiness in isolation sets. The Boston Celtics liked him enough back then to select him 25th overall in the first round, seemingly with the thought process that he could learn from and eventually replace another crafty guard in Paul Pierce.
It wasn’t to be. Brooks was almost immediately sent packing, traded to the then-New Jersey Nets in exchange for JuJuan Johnson and a second-round pick in 2014 (welp). Brooks payed dividends for the Nets immediately, averaging 12.6 points per game in his rookie season and landing on the All-Rookie Second team.
Year 2 for Brooks yielded high expectations. In an interview with SLAM magazine, MarShon set a lofty bar for himself. ”Sixth Man of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year. I’m not going to sell myself short.”
Flash forward to the 2013 offseason. After being shopped around the league by the Brooklyn Nets for basically nothing (reportedly a second-round pick would’ve done the trick), MarShon Brooks finds himself back in Boston as essentially a throw-in for what amounted to the biggest trade of the year to date. The Nets went through two coaches last season and neither guy felt that Brooks deserved to be a rotation player, as minutes were given to the aging Jerry Stackhouse and career journeyman Keith Bogans instead. Bogans joins MarShon in Boston now and he, like many frustrated Nets fans who had hoped to see MarShon blossom into a star in Brooklyn, sees the potential is there. “I think MarShon Brooks is one of the most exciting scorers you’ll see in your life. I’ve been teaching him to play a little bit of defense all last year, but as far as offensively, when he gets that basketball, he’s hard to stop. I mean, I can’t stop him from scoring, so I know it’s going to be hard for a lot of other guys to stop him.”
The problems in Brooklyn for Brooks were pretty simple. The Nets were in win-now mode after acquiring Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks and re-signing Deron Williams. So immediately, not only was Brooks not going to be given the same amount of playing time he had grown accustomed to in his rookie season, but the Nets’ coaching staff and front office had little time or interest in trying to develop young talent. It became clear pretty immediately that Brooks had little to no margin for error, as he was often pulled immediately from the game after any type of mistake was made. It’s extremely difficult for a young player to grow in that type of environment.
That will not be the case in Boston. The Celtics are in a full rebuild of their roster from top to bottom. Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green are the only players figured to be locked in as starters. Avery Bradley has shown flashes and even made an All-NBA Defensive Team last year, but his struggles down the stretch last season and limited ability offensively have made many question whether or not his impact was a bit overstated. Whether Brooks comes off the bench or starts, his workload will likely return back to a level similar to where it was in his rookie season. And considering the dearth of talent surrounding Rondo, Brooks should figure prominently into the offense. Who else will rookie coach Brad Stevens look to for points? The player MarShon Brooks is most often compared to, Jamal Crawford, took a few seasons to find himself at the NBA level. A similar career trajectory for Brooks is certainly not out of the question.
Trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was a painfully necessary evil the Boston Celtics felt the franchise needed to move on in order to rebuild this roster. The Celtics now have a slew of assets that they can either attempt to flip for a disgruntled superstar in the future or they can simply sit back and wait to see the fruition of all these draft picks. Either way, general manager Danny Ainge has insured that the impending dark days ahead in Boston will be met quickly with a promising young nucleus in the next few years. And if MarShon Brooks is given an opportunity, there is no reason why he can’t be a huge part of the future in Beantown.