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Aaron Brooks is playing the numbers while hoping for the break of his NBA life.
Somehow, someway, coach Tom Thibodeau has managed to resurrect the careers of the last four would-be back-up point guards who have migrated north to suit up with his Chicago Bulls. Granted the last two have found the terrain a lot easier to navigate given they were almost instantly thrust into savior’s minutes in the wake of All-Star PG Derrick Rose being down and out following a pair of season-ending knee injuries, you still have to respect Thibodeau’s hustle, and marvel at his wizardry in building confidence among those who were once largely considered among the wayward.
Neither C.J. Watson, John Lucas III, Nate Robinson or D.J. Augustin were household names— at least not in a good way— when they came calling. But by the time they had left for greener pastures, much had changed.
Without many takers, 30-year-old Brooks sensed the trend as a free agent. And it’s that pattern that now has him in the spotlight. Like Robinson, a native of Seattle, Brooks directly spoke with the loquacious one in arriving at his decision.
“Who doesn’t know Nate?” Brooks, who signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, told the Chicago Tribune. “He always talked about playing here. He loved it. Great coaching, great players, they always seem to get it done.”
Perhaps more than any of the other reclamation projects that have proceeded him, Brooks also comes with his own history of accomplishment. He was named the league’s Most Improved Player during the 2009-10 season, averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 assists for the Rockets. But just as it appeared as if he was about to take off over the long run, he suffered a serious ankle injury the next season that limited him to just 59 games, even though he played for both the Rockets and the Suns that year.
But now opportunity has again come calling for Aaron Brooks, and this time it’s in Tom Thibodeau’s trial-tested system.
“Just a different dynamic, scoring, getting in the paint, creating things, pushing the ball, outside shooting,” said Brooks when quizzed as to what he think he might actually be able to add to the Bulls’ veteran-laden lineup. “Just another piece to the team, I’m different from the other guys who have been here. But I’m going to come out here and work and whatever happens, happens. I can’t put myself into the role of those other guys. They’ve had some success, so I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.”
And with that, Aaron Brooks is absolutely hoping he will morph into the very guy his predecessors have proven themselves to be.
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