Before Isaiah Thomas, there was Aaron Brooks. Standing at only 6’0”, the scoring guard proved heart matters over height. He once averaged All-Star numbers for a season, then dipped after that. Here's what happened to Aaron Brooks.
Aaron Brooks’ breakout season
Brooks was drafted 26th overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. He registered 5.2 points per game during his rookie year and hiked it up to 11.2 points per game in his second year. Meanwhile, Brooks had his breakout season in his third year in the NBA after averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 assists per game, both career-highs. At that time, Aaron was a menace on the floor, a streaky shooter with an array of shifty drives to the basket.
Brooks benefited from extended minutes on the floor after the team went on a semi-rebuild. Yao Ming, Ron Artest, Tracy McGrady, and Carl Landry were gone during the season, and the scoring void had to have been filled by someone who wasn’t gun shy. He may be diminutive, but that didn’t stop him from scoring at will. Because of his eye-popping numbers, Aaron won the 2010 Most Improved Player award. Fans had reason to hope for the team’s future, but it all went downward for the former University of Oregon star.
Injuries and attitude problems
Brooks suffered a serious ankle injury which caused him to miss 22 games. In his absence, players such as Kyle Lowry stepped up. Kevin Martin provided offense while Courtney Lee added height and length to the guard rotation. In short, the Rockets were fine even without Aaron on the floor.
He mistimed his recovery and returned to the game too soon. Brooks struggled and also saw his minutes and numbers dip after. At one point, the Rockets suspended him for a game for leaving a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. That seemed to be the last straw as he was soon traded for Goran Dragic. Unfortunately for Brooks, he wasn’t able to replicate the same success he had in his breakout season for the Rockets. Since then, he bounced off different teams and even played briefly in China.
Aaron last played in Australia in 2019, but after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon, he decided to hang it up for good. Brooks may not have played in any All-Star games, but for one season, he played like one. Winning a Most Improved Player is a feat in itself, and he should be proud of how his career turned out despite the obstacles and challenges he faced.