There has been a lot of change on the Brooklyn Nets this season and the major change came when head coach Avery Johnson was relieved of his duties to make way for PJ Carlesimo a couple of weeks ago. Some players have benefited from this change more than others and MarShon Brooks is one of the players.
Johnson is what some call “a tiny dictator” and his continual hammering of players seems to wear thin and affect players confidence and their game.
Brooks was selected to the NBA All-Rookie second team after his rookie season last year, averaging 12.6 points per game, and played very well for a depleted New Jersey team. He started 47 games for the Nets due to the lack of talent and injuries on the team.
Brooks came into the season with high hopes and set a goal to be the Sixth Man of the Year and anyone who watched him last year would not doubt his ability to become that player.
The season did not begin well with Brooks suffering an injury in training camp that cost him a few weeks and immediately put him behind the rest of the Nets “new-look” team. Johnson was stressing defense over and over in camp and it was evident that Brooks was not picking up what Johnson was putting down and found himself buried on the bench. Johnson constantly chided Brooks about his lack of defense as shown on the NBA reality show “The Association” and Nets players joked with him as well.
Brooks is a scorer and being a scorer means you have a high confidence level and know you can put the ball in the basket in a multitude of ways. Defense is not his strong suit but his offensive game more than makes up for what he lacks on the defensive end and shockingly enough his confidence was shaken.
“When you play six minutes and you miss a couple shots, all you think about is those shots,” Brooks said. “I haven’t had too much of an opportunity to make up for a shot I missed or a turnover I made. You go to sleep thinking about that.”
Carlesimo met with every single player when he took over and expressed exactly what he expects from each of them and Brooks has taken the challenge.
He got his chance this past week and he has responded with a couple of great games. He scored 15 points with three assists, two rebounds, a steal along with a blocked shot in a Nets 113-93 win over the Sacramento Kings and followed it up with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting in 22 minutes when the Nets beat the Phoenix Suns 99-79.
“I finally had a good game for myself, and started playing with some confidence,” Brooks said . “I think my problem was when my confidence took a swoop, I was looking to pass too much, and I started turning the ball over.
Brooks seems to have regained his confidence and the results show that Carlesimo has gotten into his head and brought him back to being that scoring punch off the bench again.
“P.J. is a great coach, a great motivator. He’s sort of like a player’s coach,” said Brooks “He encourages everybody. the main guys have been playing well all season, but a lot of guys have been playing better because of him.”
Scoring is what Brooks does and he now has that chance with Carlesimo. Lets hope he continues his solid play as of late because the schedule is getting tougher and the Nets will need that confidence and scoring for sure.