Desperate to maintain his reputation as “the dude that always swings a trade at the deadline”, Daryl Morey secured some sweet trade nectar with a swap that is mostly noteworthy for existing amid the barren wasteland that is the NBA trade market. Drawing from the bottomless well that is Aaron Brooks’ existence, Morey has reportedly (according to Yahoo! Sports) disposed of the Lilliputian guard for the third time in three years to bring in Denver’s underutilized and underwhelming Jordan Hamilton.
This is a classic Daryl Morey move. Not necessarily because he won the trade – though, being on the internet, I am pretty much obligated to believe he has – but because this is exactly the sort of asset-grabbing, low-risk/high-reward move he has made his calling card over his tenure in Houston.
Jordan Hamilton is, at the moment, not very good. While he has rejiggered his shot selection, drastically cutting on anything coming inside the arc and becoming more of a spot up three point shooter, he’s still not effective enough as a scorer to make much of a dent. He’s a good rebounder for a wing, which is helpful, but he’s too inattentive a defender to break into a rotation putting up true shooting percentages hovering around the 50% mark.
But Morey is giving up so little, here. Brooks has aged remarkably quickly even for the typically fast-declining diminutive score-first point guard that he is, and by now is so far removed from his breakout 2009-10 campaign that it’s virtually irrelevant when assessing his potential contributions to a team. The Nuggets are in somewhat of a ball-handling bind with Nate Robinson on the shelf and Andre Miller going from permanent exile to Washington, and Brooks will be called upon to fill that role for a dozen or so minutes a night. But Houston is more than deep enough to withstand losing the bi-weekly quarter when his shot is wet enough to justify leaving him on the court.
Instead, Morey will buy low on an athletic prospect who hasn’t panned out, hoping that the Rockets’ unique style brings out the best in Jordan Hamilton. Could his combination of shooting and rebounding make him a good fit as a small ball 4 next to Dwight Howard, leading to a breakthrough similar to what we’ve seen from Omri Casspi this year? Could a green light from Kevin McHale unearth some previously hidden offensive skills? Maybe, maybe not, but trying costs next to nothing.
History is littered with failed Morey gambles – Thomas Robinson, Reggie Williams, the entire 2009 Draft Lottery, and even Aaron Brooks himself. But if it works out, and Hamilton elevates his status from trade deadline afterthought to actual NBA-level asset, he could be very useful, either in the playoffs or as part of a future Morey cash in.