The Rockets trade of Aaron Brooks for Goran Dragic and a first round pick drew rave reviews even when it was made, but as Rahat pointed out yesterday, the hidden benefit of the trade turned out to be the blossoming of point guard Kyle Lowry. Freed from the shackles of the platoon point guard system, Lowry has played like one of the best guards in the league since Brooks was traded. If you look at Lowry's post-All-Star break numbers, he's averaging 19.9 points, 8.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game, along with very stellar defense.â†µ
It's been Lowry that has carried the Rockets through this tough stretch of games, not Luis Scola. The best news about this development? Because the Rockets matched an offer sheet for Lowry last summer, they'll have him at a bargain rate for the next three years: three years, six million dollars annually. Right now that might be one of the best contracts in the NBA.â†µ
In fact, while some in the media have questioned the Shane Battier trade with hindsight, I might question the Brooks deal in the same way. Can you imagine if Lowry had been the guy at the beginning of the year? The Rockets might already be in the playoffs instead of wasting so many minutes on Brooks. Obviously we don't have the benefit of knowing what offers were on the table, but Rockets GM Daryl Morey may have dealt Brooks a year too late instead of a year too early. Especially if he had offers on the table that would have filled the center spot for this year.â†µ
Nevertheless, in a season that looks more and more like one that won't end in a playoff appearance, finding out that Lowry was a building block for both the now and the future is a welcome result. The only question now is if Morey can find some big men to make the team hum again.