More than ever, G-League alumni have successfully developed into efficient NBA players. This season, the Houston Rockets have perfectly modeled how an NBA franchise can benefit from their developmental affiliate.
Throughout 2021, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers rostered the likes of Kevin Porter Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, and Anthony Lamb. Despite an irritating rebuilding year, these signings give hope for a promising future in Houston. The next Vipers alumni to be on the look out for is Armoni Brooks.
Last night, Armoni Brooks played in his fifth NBA game against the Orlando Magic. Brooks dropped a career-high 16 points in 26 minutes, shooting 5-6 from three-point range. Brooks played a key role in this highly competitive game, outperforming starting guard Avery Bradley.
His contributions to snapping Houston’s five-game losing streak were substantial too, as he scored 9 points for Houston in the fourth quarter. Of course, aside from his strong work ethic, Brooks’ greatest strength is his shooting accuracy from three-point range.
In his five games with the Rockets, the former University of Houston star has shot 11-21 from deep range, giving him a three-point accuracy of 52.4%. Based on current trends, Brooks is a more efficient three-point shooter than the likes of Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Damian Lillard (ain’t the theater of small samples great?)
Brooks’ exceptional shooting from the outside shouldn’t be a surprise to those who’ve followed the Texas native’s career. During his 15 game run with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Brooks led the G-League in three-pointers made, with a total of 57. This accolade had Brooks averaging 3.8 three-pointers per game on 37.5% shooting.
What makes this story more intriguing is that Brooks’ NBA hopes were hours away from coming to a halt. In an interview with Mark Berman, Brooks said:
“I was actually in the airport on my way to go to New Zealand (to play in the professional league there). I got a phone call, and they (the Houston Rockets) said they signed me to a two-way (contract), and I just started crying in the airport.”
Instead of an unceremonious venture overseas, the three-point sniper would go on to become the Rockets’ most accurate shooter from behind the arc.
The two-way player quickly worked his way up the depth charts too, from barely three minutes of playing time in his NBA debut to over 20 minutes one week later. With Brooks’ progressing efficiency and persistent hustle, it’s expected that he will be a key player for the team moving forward.
It’s unclear what head coach Stephen Silas has in mind for Brooks in the long term, but his role as a sharpshooting specialist can’t be denied. What is clear is that Brooks is already making his mark in the NBA.