Rockets’ Dillon Brooks Making Most Of Defensive Rule

Dillon Brooks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rockets, Thunder, NBA
Feb 25, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) drives with the ball as Houston Rockets forward Dillon Brooks (9) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Given how much the NBA rules have skewed toward the offensive side of the ball in recent years, teams and players have to find ways to even the playing field. Offense sells and the league is leaning into that as we are seeing historic offensive numbers produced this season.

Figuring out how to slow down these high-flying attacks is easier said than done. Not only are the rules in favor of the offensive players, but the skill level of the players has improved exponentially. Even the perfect defensive scheme sometimes yields middling results because players are just so talented.

Attempting to find new ways to keep up, Houston Rockets forward Dillon Brooks looks to have found a loophole in the rules. Known for his aggressive style of play, Brooks has drawn the tag of being an agitator and nuisance on the court.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Dillon Brooks & Houston Rockets Updates

He has no qualms about playing physically, as he routinely draws the toughest assignments defensively. That has been his role since entering the NBA, as the Memphis Grizzlies used him in a similar role.

However, his greatest strength, his physicality and aggressiveness, has also been his biggest weakness. Brooks has routinely been near the top of the NBA in fouls per game throughout his career, as he comes with the territory of attempting to stop the best players in the league from scoring.

While a few of those whistles certainly went against Brooks because of the reputation he has garnered, a lot of the time, the calls were warranted. He would sometimes let his emotions get the best of him, committing an egregious foul and taking him out of the game.

Seeking ways to remain aggressive without committing fouls, Brooks may have found the answer. As shared by Itamar on X, Brooks looks to be taking full advantage of something out of the NBA rule book.

Too often we see defenders barrel into shooters on the perimeter, sending them to the foul line for two and sometimes three attempts. Brooks is aggressive on his closeouts, but he has keyed in on doing something that won’t get him whistled for fouls; high-fiving his opponent.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Dillon Brooks & Houston Rockets Updates

As Itamar shared, if a defender makes contact with the shooting hand of an offensive player after the ball is released, it is considered legal by NBA rules. In the clip from the Rockets’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Brooks is using that to his advantage, closing out aggressively without being whistled for fouls.

While some of the shot attempts still go in, it is certainly an interesting tactic being used by Brooks. You can see some of the offensive players are left a bit bewildered by having their hand slapped, as they immediately look toward the referees for a foul call.

It will be something to keep an eye on to see if referees stick to the letter of the law, allowing Brooks the leeway to high-five opponents as the NBA rule book states, or if they start whistling him every so often. If it is something that continues, how long until other players and teams around the NBA start emphasizing things to take advantage of themselves?

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