Could the Nets’ MarShon Brooks be the NBA’s Next Breakout Star?

By: Kels Dayton

If MarShon Brooks scores a record-tying 34 points in an NBA Summer League game, does he make a sound?

That depends on who’s listening.

Brooks has made the Sixth Man of the Year award his goal. (AP Photo)

The casual basketball fan would say no, it’s freaking Summer League.

But coaches, GMs, and observant fans understand that Brooks, like a teenager who ran out of ProActiv, is on the verge of a breakout.

The 6-5 guard has been a gifted scorer his entire life. He once put up 57 points in a 16- and-under AAU game and stunned the college basketball world by hanging a ridiculous 52 points on Notre Dame and 43 on Georgetown in 2011.

(Brooks finished second in the nation in scoring that season, behind some guy named Jimmer Fredette).

But MarShon has managed to stay under the radar mostly because he’s played for teams that have been generally irrelevant—Providence College and the New Jersey Nets.

Now, as the Nets prepare to begin their run in Brooklyn, Brooks’ play is becoming impossible to drown out.

MarShon had a solid rookie season, finishing third in scoring among rooks at 12.6 points per game. He was also named to the All-Rookie second team. Brooks struggled to find his way to the court at times, mostly because head coach Avery Johnson was less than impressed with his defense. But when he finally put it all together, Brooks was a revelation, playing well enough to be mentioned alongside forward Brook Lopez as one of Orlando’s must-have return pieces if the Magic were to trade center Dwight Howard to Brooklyn.

With Howard now in L.A., the Nets envision a future with MarShon filling it up alongside star guards Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

Brooks will almost definitely come off the bench for Brooklyn next season, and he’s already stated that his goal is to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. “I think I can be a sparkplug for this team,” he said. Despite the fact that he and Johnson possess admittedly similar skills on offense, the PC grad believes he will be in position to knock down a few more spot-up jumpers and create when he has to.

Brooks followed up that record-tying 34-point performance in Summer League by scoring 91 points in two games at the Dru Joyce summer league in Cleveland. Granted, it’s easier to look like an All-Star in August than it is in February, but Brooks’ summer scoring binge has Nets fans thinking big.

He has been compared to scorers around the league, but the most appropriate may be Kobe (alright, Kobe Lite), simply because his moves perfectly mimic the man he grew up idolizing. Watch MarShon go to work and you won’t have any trouble understanding where the comparison comes from. Every head-fake, fadeaway J, and jab-step drive to the hole seems Bryant-esque.
Still, Brooks doesn’t put much stock in such comparisons.
“I don’t like to compare myself to Kobe, with all he’s done. I’m not nearly established enough in the game,” he said.

So why do others make that evaluation? “I don’t know,” Brooks said. “Maybe it’s the afro.”

If he has to be compared to someone, Brooks likes Jamal Crawford. (Also fair).

Aside from lighting everyone up, MarShon says he’s spent the summer getting stronger (he’s added seven pounds of muscle), and working on his defense. His agent Seth Cohen says Brooks is also scheduled to tour Russia in September as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.“People around the NBA know his reputation as a great guy,” said Cohen, who runs Original Creative Representation. “That’s why they wanted him for this opportunity.”

It seems opportunities will be coming fast and furious for Brooks, who just might help transform Brooklyn into one of the league’s most exciting teams to watch.

“It’s going to be crazy. I’m very excited, I think the city is very excited as well. There’s going to be a lot of buzz in that arena, and I think we’re all looking forward to it.”


MarShon Brooks Highlight Video:


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