Has Dillon Brooks Become A Distraction for the Grizzlies?
Confrontation with Shannon Sharpe, Fight with Donovan Mitchell Makes Trade Deadline Interesting for Memphis
UPDATE (FEB 3RD 6:00PM): Dillon Brooks was just suspended 1-game by the NBA for hitting Donovan Mitchell in the groin.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 1-7 since former Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks started his beef with FOX’s Shannon Sharpe. That is a fact that cannot be denied. The club was riding an 11-game winning streak when the Grizz hit Staples Center red hot that night. The tough 122-121 loss to LeBron James and the Lake Show seemed like a speed bump at the time. But, was something much deeper revealed that night?
“They didn’t want this smoke, Dave,” Sharpe said. “They do all that talking and jockeying and I ain’t about that jockeying. It started with Dillon Brooks. I said he was too small to guard LeBron. He said, ‘F— me.’ I said, ‘F— you’ back. He started to come at me, and I said, ‘You don’t want these problems.’ And then Ja came out of nowhere talking. He definitely didn’t want these problems. Then the dad came and he obviously didn’t want no problems.” -Shannon Sharpe, after confrontation at Staples Center with Grizzly forward Dillon Brooks
Brooks is averaging 16.1 points and a career-high 3.5 rebounds for the Grizzlies
The Sharpe/Brooks confrontation can be looked at in a myriad of ways… Who was at fault? Was it Brooks getting distracted by a spectator, who was doing much the same as a Spike Lee, Jack Nicolson or rowdy fan was doing? Did Sharpe have zero business clapping back at Brooks? Does the NBA need to look at regulations for the way that celebrities act on the sidelines? There were also others involved in the confrontation, including Steven Adams, Ja Morant, and Morant’s father Tee. Apologies were made. The beef seemed to die down. But, it seems that whatever way you look at it, something changed within the psyche of the Grizzly team.
So, here we were on Thursday night- in another away game at Cleveland, against another ballclub with a big scorer in Mitchell. Brooks definitely lost his cool and rolled into the legs of Mitchell, while striking him in the groin. Mitchell responded by hurling the basketball and striking Brooks. A few moments of chaos ensued and by the end of it, we know that Brooks has damaged his reputation in the NBA. Brooks was assessed a flagrant-2 foul, which automatically meant an ejection from the game, and Mitchell was also ejected. The game ended in a 128-113 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“That’s just who he is,. we’ve seen it a bunch in this league with him. (He) and I have had our personal battles for years. Quite frankly, I’ve been busting his ass for years. Playoffs. Regular season. And the one game he does an all right job on me today, decides to do something like that.
“You know, there’s no place in the game and you’ve gotta protect yourself at the end of the day, but this has been brewing for years, with me, with other guys in the league … this isn’t new. And tonight was just the end of it, but it’s tough when you can’t guard somebody and can’t do something with somebody you gotta resort to that and that’s what he’s done to a lot of players … this is one of those things, that’s what you resort to, and that’s cool, but I’m glad my guys held it down tonight and, you know, had my back throughout the whole thing.” -Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Even after a very rough 2 weeks, Memphis still sits atop the Southwest Division by 4.5 games over the Dallas Mavericks and in 2nd Place in the Western Conference behind Denver. The NBA Trade Deadline is February 9th.
Here’s the question… Do the Grizzlies need more firepower at the Deadline to compete with Denver, Dallas and the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors? Has Dillon Brooks become a distraction? Or, is his aggressive, confrontational style perfect for those heated Playoff games coming up? Distraction or lightning rod? You be the judge.
NASHVILLE LIVE MAGAZINE
ARTICLE BY JB BROOKMAN