PHILDELPHIA – Derrick Rose injuries aren’t necessarily bad for everyone.
Just ask Nate Robinson, D.J. Augustin, and now Aaron Brooks. For every game that the 2011 MVP is in street clothes, playing fifth coach on the bench, a Tom Thibodeau back-up guard is showcasing his talents, and eventually getting paid on the open market because of it.
Brooks is just the latest.
“I love the guy because he’s tough as nails,’’ Thibodeau said on Friday. “You can start him, play him big minutes, play him in the fourth quarter. He’s going to battle people. He’s going to make the right play. He’s got a high IQ. When he gets in the paint, he knows where everyone is and what everyone can do.
“He leads guys into their strengths and covers up their weaknesses. He’s just tough. He’s a very good player. I’m very pleased with what he’s done so far for us.’’
What he’s done is headline the new-look second unit, aka the “Beard Mob,’’ averaging 11 points and 4.4 assists per game through the first five. And while he came to the Bulls in free agency this offseason with a reputation that had him as a shoot-first guard, he’s bought into the team philosophy, evident by having the second most assists per game on the squad.
“Every game it varies,’’ Brooks said of his mentality. “Some games you go into it, and depending on how they play you. Just making the right play. Sometimes I feel like when I get in the paint the shot is the best option, and I go for that. Just making the right plays.’’
Plays that could make Brooks the next “getting paid’’ candidate. The Bulls have him for just this season at $915,243, and then he hits the market.
So call him “shoot-first,’’ call him “unselfish,’’ Brooks just wants to be considered a basketball player.
“I don’t want to be labeled as anything,’’ Brooks added.