For the second time in three years, the Houston Rockets have traded point guard Aaron Brooks at the NBA trade deadline.
Houston sent Brooks to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, bringing in 23-year old wing Jordan Hamilton in exchange.
Hamilton is not exactly a home run, but the Rockets get a decent shot at finding a possible rotation player. At 6-foot-7, he’s got the size for the wing and is a solid shooter at a career 35.7% from three-point range. He’s a very good defensive rebounder and has some athleticism. He will compete with Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi for playing time.
“Jordan Hamilton is a guy we think has the potential to move into our rotation (and) we think we’re a pretty good team,” said Rockets GM Daryl Morey. “He brings some skills we think could help us — shooting and he’s a really great rebounder. One of our issues at the wing is when Dwight goes to block a shot, our rebounding behind him has been challenged so we think Jordan can come in behind him and shore that up if he gets into the rotation.”
Morey said Hamilton is a guy they have “had their eye on” and the timing of the acquisition fits the pattern of success they have had acquiring young players (likely referring to when they traded for Kyle Lowry).
“He hasn’t had a chance to emerge (and that’s) usually the kind of guy we do pretty well with — catch him a little bit before they get a chance and see him flourish with us,” said Morey.
Brooks, who is the team’s best three-point shooter this season, was pushed out of the rotation once both Patrick Beverley and Jeremy Lin were healthy. He provided some valuable insurance at two guard spots this season. For example, in the eight games this year where James Harden was out, Brooks averaged 12.1 points in just 22.1 minutes a game, hitting over 51% of his threes. He was part of the reason the Rockets went 6-2 in those games without their star.
Since Brooks is a one-year Bird Rights player, he had the right to approve any trade. By approving this one, he’s clearly doing it because the Nuggets provide a better playing opportunity before he becomes a free agent this summer.
“Some of this trade is about Isaiah Canaan,” said Morey. “He’s played very well in the D-League. We feel like and the coaching staff feels like he has the ability to step into that third point guard role. If we were to take an injury potentially, we feel comfortable he could come in and give us good minutes.”
But the Rockets needed a possible boost at the wing spot, and it will be interesting to see if Hamilton finds a niche here off the bench playing in an offense that focuses heavily on the three. Here’s a highlights video from a game last week where Hamilton posted 16 points and 7 assists against the Timberwolves.