The emergence of MarShon Brooks for the Nets is one of the league's early stories. An elite player at Providence, the 25th pick in the 2011 draft projected to really only be a spark off the bench in the NBA. Instead, he's become a starter, and has been an efficient -- and reliable -- threat on offense.
Brooks is shooting 40 percent from three, up from 34 percent his last year in college. His true shooting percentage (54.4 percent) is ninth among rookies. And Brooks' player efficiency rating (19.84 through 11 games) puts him second among rookies, only behind Kyrie Irving, and eighth among NBA shooting guards, within one-tenth of a point of Dwyane Wade and Monta Ellis.
All told, Brooks is averaging 19.6 points per 36 minutes, and his 14.5 points per game is second on the Nets behind Deron Williams.
But when Brooks has been on the floor, the Nets have struggled. He's registered a plus/minus of -80 in 294 minutes, according to 82games.com. That's 11 points worse than Anthony Morrow, 44 points worse than DeShawn Stevenson, and 52 points worse than Sundiata Gaines, three of the players he is battling for playing time with. And of the Nets' three best units in terms of plus-minus, Brooks' name only shows up once.
It's still early, and the Nets (3-9) have struggled out of the gate. Additionally, of the 14 players to appear in a game for New Jersey this season, 10 have started, showing that the team has struggled to find an identity.
How the Nets continue to perform with Brooks on the floor is something to monitor, though. If Brooks does continue to show the offensive potential to be a legitimate starting two-guard in the league, New Jersey will need to see better production out of the groups he plays with. Otherwise, chances are he'll be limited to coming off the bench.
Highlights from Brooks' 20-point, three-steal performance in the Nets' 110-103 win over Phoenix Friday night: