Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: MarShon Brooks

Copyright 2011 NBAE - Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty ImagesIn his NBA debut, rookie guard MarShon Brooks has earned significant playing time off the Nets’ bench and shown flashes of his shooting prowess, which was highlighted by a 52-point rampage against Notre Dame when he broke the Big East record last year.

During his collegiate career with the Providence Friars, Brooks proved he could put the ball in the hole on a consistent basis. He averaged 24.6 ppg and evolved into the top scorer in the Big East by his senior year. A solid defender, Brooks also led his team in rebounding.

The 6’5”, 200-pound shooting star was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 25th pick in 2011, but landed in his birth state of New Jersey by way of a draft day trade to the Nets.

Brooks has gotten off to a solid start so far in his pro career. He’s averaging 13.9 ppg in 23.4 minutes and is second in scoring behind All-Star point guard Deron Williams. He can sink shots from behind the 3-point line, penetrate off the dribble and hit lots in between. Brooks also helps out on the boards and has been pulling down a few rebounds each night.

The freshman has a lot to learn, but Brooks is destined for a bright future in this league as a big-time scorer. With the team’s top gun starting center Brook Lopez sidelined with a stress fracture in his right foot, the Nets desperately need Brooks’ firepower. As long as he stays healthy, Brooks will continue to get minutes and challenge 4th-year guard Anthony Morrow for the 2-spot in the Nets’ starting lineup. The Nets play four games this week beginning tonight at home game against the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 PM EST on YES.

Beyond the Lottery: Marshon Brooks

Providence College shooting guard Marshon Brooks can score. He finished second overall in Division 1 scoring for the 2010-11 season with a 24.6 ppg average. The 6’5” Associated Press Third Team All-American had games of 43 points against Georgetown and 52 points facing Notre Dame this past season. In fact, Georgia native Brooks increased his scoring average in each of his four seasons playing for the Ocean State’s Big East representative.

The 22-year-old Brooks has tremendous athleticism, and he possesses a key trait that is unteachable – length. This length (his wingspan is over 85 inches) added to his court savvy and separation dribble moves allow Brooks to create his own shot, which is an especially valuable skill at the next level. He has legitimate NBA 3-point range, which widens his offensive arsenal and prevents teams from backing off and playing him exclusively for the drive and mid-range penetration.

For a perimeter player Brooks is excellent on the glass. He pulled down seven boards per game this past year. And just as with his scoring, he raised his rebounding average in each of his four seasons with the Friars. His averages in assists, steals and field goal percentage all improved over his collegiate career as well. A competitor with this four-season statistical upward trajectory is the definition of potential and upside in regard to the possibility of one day blooming into an impactful NBA starter.

Brooks will not be chosen in the lottery because of his dishing deficiencies and a tendency to get a bit sloppy with the rock. He averaged more turnovers than assists both his junior and senior years. Another knock on him is that he needs to show more intensity and desire on the defensive end because at the professional level he’ll often be checking the opposing team’s best scorer, his 2-guard counterpart.

What will make Marshon Brooks an NBA Draft first-rounder next week is his ability to put up points and sometimes do it in spectacular flurries. A playoff team in need of an offensive spark off the bench would be a great fit for the pride of Tucker, Georgia.