Remember the 2023 NBA playoffs? More specifically, remember Dillon Brooks trying to stir up his beef with LeBron despite woefully underperforming all series long? Furthermore, remember how Dillon Brooks focused so much on beefing with LeBron that it literally caused the Grizzlies to let him walk in free agency? Well, despite LeBron very clearly winning their beef, that's not how Brooks sees it.
“I feel like I always had him,” Brooks told Arash Madani of Sportsnet. “I feel like that series was thrown upon me cause of the words that I say, but I’ve been saying things all year and we won 50 games.” The Grizzlies did indeed win 50 games in the regular season. In fact, they won 51. But that didn't stop them from getting absolutely decimated in the playoffs. They lost in six to the revigorated Lakers, who would go on a run to the Western Conference Finals. For his part, Brooks shot a dismal 23.8% from three despite being consistently left wide-open. Furthermore, despite all his defensive trash talk, he still watched LeBron sink the Game 4 winner over him. "I'm one of the elite defenders in the NBA," Brooks later said in the interview.
New Year, New Brooks?
The comments made to Sportsnet appear to suggest that Brooks hasn't learned much from his misadventures in the postseason. After all, why would he? He came away with a lucrative sign and trade and now finds himself on a rebuilding Rockets team. He's currently in Asia preparing to play with the Canadian National Team at the FIBA World Cup. They open their tournament against France on August 25.
However, Brooks' comments make it clear that he has no interest in letting the beef simmer. He is ready to sizzle now. "I hear you crying to the ref, and that's when I love it. That's when I know I got you," Brooks also remarked in his interview with Sportsnet. Despite his own complaints that he was being painted as a villain by the media, Brooks is fully in his "villain" era heading into next season. It will be interesting to see how that plays out, especially when the Lakers travel to Houston on November 8.