Had the Houston Rockets never signed Armoni Brooks to a two-way contract, the 22-year-old Texas native would have spent the rest of the 2021 NBA season playing professional basketball in New Zealand. But instead of traveling to a foreign country to continue his basketball career, Brooks made the most of his new opportunity playing three hours away from his hometown with the Rockets.
For a team derailed by injuries and sitting at 13-36 by the time he arrived in April, Houston was the best place for Brooks to showcase his potential on an NBA level. He took advantage of the opportunity by averaging 11.2 points while shooting 38.2 percent from behind the arc. Brooks’ 60 made 3-point field goals set a record for the most triples made by a rookie in their first 20 games.
His debut in a 126-109 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers only saw Brooks touch the floor for three minutes. But by the end of the 2021 season, Brooks’ playing time increased to an average of 33 minutes during the final three games. While starting all three contests, Brooks’ scoring progressed to 18.0 points while shooting a blistering 46.7 percent from behind the arc.
“Being a rookie and being able to come in and get valuable experience early in my playing career is great. Not a lot of guys on two-ways or rookies in general get the ability to play this much time. Playing on the court instead of just watching on film is a big jump for me.” — Brooks
Although there will be some significant changes to the Rockets’ roster this offseason, Brooks should be one of the names that continue to headline the youth movement in Houston heading into the 2022 season. However, his return to the Rockets will depend on how the rest of the roster shakes out this offseason and enhancement to his game.
After finishing the season ranked as the league’s third-worst three-point shooting team (33.9 percent), the Rockets will be searching the market for players who can improve their shooting this offseason. The addition of Brooks helps Houston keep a three-point sniper without financially interfering with the Rockets’ ability to add players to their core.
Base on Brooks’ shooting alone, minutes may not be hard to obtain under Stephen Silas if given the opportunity to return next season. But to establish himself as a foundational piece of a rebuild in Houston like Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate, Brooks must stay true to his word about improving his defense and getting stronger this offseason.