For the first time in years, the Bulls will have a continuous flow of personnel backing up Derrick Rose. Not since C.J. Watson has a point guard, outside of Rose, played in consecutive seasons or the team, but now Aaron Brooks gets the chance.
It's an interesting development for several reasons. One being that continuity may improve Brooks' play and turn him into more of a facilitator given his experience with the roster. Admittedly, Brooks will always be a scoring guard, which is fine, but with him now having a deeper understanding of his co-workers, one can hope his scoring comes within the flow of the offense. This wasn't always the case last year, where Brooks at times would go a little rogue and throw up everything in sight, while showing little to no interest in moving the ball.
Additionally, Brooks might benefit from Fred Hoiberg who loves the long-ball and prefers quick scoring. There's no denying that Brooks remains quick as a cat, which might help to serve a purpose in Hoiberg's schemes. If the second-unit can get out in transition and get some buckets early in the clock, it'd be a tremendous asset for the Bulls overall, compared to how frequently the second string struggled scoring the ball last year.
While Brooks certainly had his periods of selfish play, he did show a willingness to be a team player when the team adapted a philosophy of swinging the ball. This is Hoiberg's bread and butter, and with Kirk Hinrich likely taking a permanent seat on the bench, Brooks will be able to maxmize that willingness alongside scorers who help him stretch the floor. Whether it's Doug McDermott, Tony Snell, or Mike Dunleavy who starts, it leaves two guys to man the bench unit, giving Brooks more options to play off of.
The Bulls could run Brooks, Snell, McDermott, Mirotic, and Gibson as the secondary unit, giving the point guard a lot of passing options, as well as a stretched out floor. Of the 121 made three's last year, Brooks was assisted on 61.2% of them which is a figure that should rise with Mirotic getting more minutes, and with the bench unit in general becoming more competent offensively. Overall, Brooks was assisted on less than 30% of his shots, indicating he primarily seeks the kick-out, but otherwise prefers to self-create. Because of that, the Bulls need to swing the ball his direction during sets with heavy movement, as both to avoid the isolation plays make the most of Brooks' biggest strength. His 38.7% from downtown was decent considering the volume, but a miserable February (11-for-41) affected his true worth from the outside. Over the course of the first 49 games of the year, Brooks hit 45.7% of his shot from behind the arc on 3.3 attempts a night. Over the remaining 33 games, he sat at just 30.9% and had lost his rhythm.
The drop in mid-season is concerning, and to some point shooting near-46% is unsustainable, but Brooks isn't a 31%-shooter, so it's worth taking another gamble on him and hoping he'll remain consistent throughout the year, especially when given a permanent role off the bench. Brooks' numbers took a nosedive when starting, with his overall TS-efficiency dropping from well above league average at .555 to .491 and his long-ball suffering a percentage point decline of 10.8. Turning a made shot into a miss per every 10 you take is huge, especially when you're one of the key offensive components on the team, which thus makes it essential that Derrick Rose can stay healthy and let Brooks come in off the bench to provide an efficient scoring punch. And should Rose go down again at some point, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea to keep Brooks on the pine, and start E'Twaun Moore over him. This frees up Brooks to play against opposing benches, which he seems terrific at, while offering a defensive attitude, in form of Moore, going up against opposing starters.
Overall, I like to see Brooks back. But it's my hope that his return comes with a higher sense of understanding of how he should be used.