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Armoni Brooks excited to find a home with the Rockets

Armoni Brooks, Rockets

It’s been a crazy three years for guard Armoni Brooks. After not being selected in the 2019 NBA Draft and bouncing around the G League for two years, Brooks finally found some stability this year with the Houston Rockets.

In January, he signed with Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and was subsequently given a two-way deal four months later. He still had to fight for his place on the team in training camp, but on Thursday, Brooks was rewarded for his efforts with a multi-year deal to stay with the team.

“He is so, so committed to being good and committed to the work,” said Stephen Silas at Rockets practice on Thursday. “He was here all summer. It wasn’t just on the court. It was in the weight room. It was in the training room. It was when we would go out to dinner. It was with the guys. He really become a big part of our group over the summer.

When the NBA introduced two-way contracts in 2017-18, players like Brooks are exactly the types of stories they envisioned. A Texas native and former Houston Cougar, Brooks is beloved by Rockets fans. However, his local ties aren’t what got him this contract – his deadeye shooting ability did. Brooks finished last season with the Rockets shooting 38.2% from three-point range on 7.9 attempts per game. It’s only a three-game sample size, but Brooks carried his hot shooting into the preseason, making 56.2% of his 5.3 three-point attempts per game.

“Along with improving his body, his shot is NBA ready right now,” continued Silas. “I think he also improved off the dribble some. He’s attacking closeouts. The big step for him will be on the defensive end. He knows it and we’re working on it. He’s making more plays defensively today than he was at the end of last year.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Armoni Brooks is one of the best three-point shooters on the planet. He shot at elite percentages at the college, G League, and NBA level. Now that he has a contract, Brooks has to round out the rest of his game to stay in the NBA. That means he’s got to be more dynamic off the dribble, he’s got to to make quick decisions with the ball, he’s got to build out his frame, and most importantly, he has to be better defensively.

“I really locked in on it,” said Armoni Brooks on his offseason defensive work. “It was clearly my biggest focus in the offseason and I’m happy to see it pay off.”

By all accounts, he was originally slated to sign another two-way deal with Houston. In fact, Brooks went to bed on Thursday with that understanding and was informed of the change Friday morning by his agent.

“I didn’t really know what to say at first,” said Brooks, grinning. “It kind of caught me by surprise. I’m really excited.”

It’s really hard to transform a two-way player into a consistent rotation player, but the Rockets have done it before. Forward Danuel House Jr. is one of the early success stories of the two-way contract. Every front office understands that it’s a low odds game, but it’s one that’s worth playing. Considering the relatively small financial commitment, the only real investment is time spent scouting and developing players – which every team is doing anyways. It’s anyone’s best guess if Brooks can contribute to the Rockets at some point, but both parties seemed happy with Thursday’s resolution.

“It feels good to see everything that you put in finally start to pay off,” said Armoni Brooks. “There’s still bigger goals to reach and there’s still a lot of motivation left. I’m just trying to keep getting better everyday and keep going with this team.”