Southwest Notes: Brooks, Green, Zion, Smart, K. Johnson

Just four-and-a-half minutes into his first game with the Rockets, Dillon Brooks provided a reminder of his occasional tendency to take his defensive tenacity a step too far, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). Brooks was ejected from Houston’s preseason opener with 7:27 left in the first quarter after officials determined he struck Pacers center Daniel Theis in the groin.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Brooks – who signed a four-year, $86MM deal with the Rockets in July – suggested his reputation was a factor in the quick hook he received on Tuesday.

“I tried to navigate a screen,” he said. “I might have tapped him below waist. But he got right back up. I don’t know. It’s weird that every time it happens to me, I get picked on. I guess it’s part of reputation.”

Asked if there’s a target on his back due to his past actions, Brooks didn’t dispute the idea.

“I don’t know. What’s my name?” he said, per Feigen. “The name is ‘Dillon the villain,’ so I guess.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Asked about his goals for the 2023/24 season, Rockets guard Jalen Green provided a simple response, according to Feigen (subscription required): “Winning. Winning. Winning. … Winning is very important in the NBA. I haven’t done any of that. It’s time for that to change.”
  • Following a promising offseason in which he invested heavily in his personal training staff, forward Zion Williamson and the Pelicans‘ new-look offense looked good in Tuesday’s opener, writes Christian Clark of Williamson had 12 points, five rebounds, and five assists in just 15 minutes of action. “You can condition,” head coach Willie Green said. “You can lift. You can do a ton of cardio. But the best basketball shape is to play basketball.”
  • Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins offered a minor update on Tuesday on injured guard Marcus Smart, who has missed the team’s first two preseason games due to ab soreness. “It’s day-to-day. It’s kind of light core work right now,” Jenkins said (Twitter link via Michael Wallace of “Just being smart, anticipate a little bit more ramp up as week goes on.”
  • In a conversation with Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Spurs wing Keldon Johnson spoke about his desire to become a better defender, what his role will look like in 2023/24, and his first impressions of Victor Wembanyama.
  • In case you missed it, you can vote on the 2023/24 win totals for all five Southwest teams right here.
View Comments (7)