Dillon Brooks proved his value to Houston Rockets in the 2023 FIBA World Cup

Canada's Dillon Brooks celebrates (Photo by SHERWIN VARDELEON / AFP)
Canada's Dillon Brooks celebrates (Photo by SHERWIN VARDELEON / AFP) /

Did Dillon Brooks prove his value with his performance in the 2023 FIBA World Cup? 

Dillon Brooks has quickly molded himself into one of the NBA’s most polarizing players. Whether it’s due to his persona, playstyle, or off-court antics, there’s seemingly always something to talk about. So when the Houston Rockets decided to shell out $20 million/year for Brooks, it raised a lot of questions.

But if the way Dillon just played at the 2023 FIBA World Cup is any indication of what’s in store for Houston, that price might’ve actually been a bargain.

How good was Dillon Brooks in the 2023 FIBA World Cup?

Brooks was unbelievable in almost every aspect of the FIBA World Cup. It almost seemed like watching a different player.

In seven games this tournament, Dillon averaged 15 points and three rebounds a game on 59 percent from the field, and 59 percent from 3-point range. Brooks’ 39 points in the bronze medal game vs. USA helped Canada achieve its highest-ever finish at a FIBA tournament.

In the Philippines, Dillon Brooks showcased everything that’s made him successful in the NBA, and very little of what hasn’t.

First off, Dillon shot the absolute lights out of the ball. Fifty-nine percent is an absurd number from the field for a wing, never mind from 3-point range. The main criticism of Brooks basketball-wise in the NBA was his efficiency and shot selection, but in FIBA he was much more intelligent with the shots he took. In the league, Dillon shot plenty of heavily contested shots which was really what drove his percentage down, with Canada the majority of his jump shots were lightly contested or wide-open. This is an incredible sign for the Rockets.

Brooks was also an incredibly strong finisher at the rim. This is arguably his best offensive skillset, but in the NBA last season, he was missing shots he made earlier in his career around the bucket. If he can keep this up in Houston, it will be extremely helpful to open up the rest of his offensive game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Dillon was just as impressive as he was in the NBA. Dillon was awarded the Best Defensive Player Of The Tournament award. His defense against Luka Doncic in the quarter-finals especially was really fantastic. Everybody knows this is his best skill set, but to prove it once again after all that’s happened the last five months shows real character.

What Rockets fans can take the most value away from Brooks’ play is his leadership. In big moments in the NBA, Dillon really lost his cool or did something stupid more times than not. This was never a good look for the team to emulate. With Canada as an older NBA vet, he really was a voice of reason and a strong example of how to conduct yourself on the court. No matter how many boos, or how many annoying calls the refs made, for the most part, Dillon stayed chill and played strong, hard-nosed basketball on both ends.

Considering the issues the Rockets have had with leadership over the last few seasons, surprisingly Dillon might be the right guy to help them down a path of reason.

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Dillon has been through a lot with the media, and with basketball in general over the last few months. For him to come out with such a mature, resolute collection of performances is an extremely positive sign for the Houston Rockets.