Dillon Brooks‘ strong World Cup performance for Canada – which earned its first-ever medal at the event – came as no surprise to Rockets general manager Rafael Stone, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). Brooks’ combination of scoring (15.1 PPG), shooting (.588 3PT%), and defense were what Stone was counting on when Houston signed him to a four-year, $86MM contract in July.
“I’m really happy for Dillon,” Stone said. “Largely, he’s the player that we thought we were signing. So, it’s not at all surprising. But it’s great. And more so than any player I can really remember in recent memory, there’s a narrative about him that’s odd and wrong. And I think kind of the whole world over the last week has kind of owned that he’s a really good basketball player.
“The thing he does at a truly elite level, in a funny way is the one thing that every fan and every coach says is the most important thing. Every single day, every single possession, he competes and he’s always ready. And so, it’s kind of funny that that guy, who embodies that ethos, has taken as (much criticism) in the past few months as he has. But I also think … people are going to realize he’s a really good player. And most importantly, he just competes his butt off. Obviously, we really like him. He played like we would expect him to, and we’re really excited to get him back and get him integrated.”
Here’s more on the Rockets:
- Although Turkey wasn’t part of the 2023 World Cup, Turkish center Alperen Sengun suited up for his national team during an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament this summer. The Rockets liked what he saw from the young center at that event, as Feigen relays. “Alpi is on the path we want him to be on. I thought he was moving really, really well,” Stone said. “I thought his decision-making was good. I liked his defensive effort, overall.”
- Stone said he expects the entire Rockets roster to be healthy for the start of training camp next month, per Feigen (Twitter link). Jock Landale missed the World Cup due to an ankle injury and hasn’t been cleared for 5-on-5 work, but should be soon, per Stone.
- Prosecutors at Kevin Porter Jr.‘s arraignment in New York City on Tuesday stated that his alleged attack on his girlfriend left her with a fractured neck vertebra and a deep cut above her right eye, according to Michael R. Sisak of The Associated Press. Manhattan’s assistant district attorney Mirah Curzer referred to the incident as a “serious domestic violence case” and indicated that Porter has a history of abusing his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick. The Rockets guard, who wasn’t required to enter a plea during Tuesday’s court appearance, was ordered to post $75K in cash or obtain a $100K bond to secure his release.