Is Dillon Brooks the best defender in the FIBA ​​World Cup? Yes. This tournament, this world, in the NBA.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - SEPTEMBER 06: Luka Doncic #77 of Slovenia goes to the basket against Dillon Brooks #24 of Canada during the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup quarterfinal game between Canada and Slovenia at the Mall of Asia Arena on September 06, 2023 in Manila.  Philippines (Photo by Ezra Akayan/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic from Slovenia tries to go to the basket in front of the opponent Dillon Brooks Canada during the quarter finals of the FIBA ​​World Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on September 6, 2023 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Akayan/Getty Images)

MANILA, Philippines – A member of the Canadian team staff yelled the worst word a reporter will hear during a post-practice media availability, hands on belt: “First bus!” Inside Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Dillon Brooks, however, is in no rush to reach the idle charter outside. He’s swapped his sneakers for a pair of black Birkenstocks, and the infamous defender puts one foot in front of the other and meanders across the halfway line of the bleak arena as if he’s keeping Equilibrium is along a long wire.

This is Brooks’ task every night. For the Canadian club — which is one win away from a potential matchup with Team USA for World Cup gold — and for his next role as an environmental pest for Houston Rockets. He’s constantly straddling antics and emotions, helped limit Luka Doncic to 8-of-20 shooting in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over Slovenia and angered the NBA superstar to the point where Doncic was thrown on a two-technique — but only then. from that. Brooks himself had already been banned.

And yet, Doncic’s complaint wasn’t about Brooks or his approach, but how lenient the officials were with all of Brooks’ jabs and jabs.

“A lot of people don’t like him,” Doncic said after the game. But I respect him for what he does.

Canada coach Jordi Fernandez added: “I think he’s the best defender, with Lou Doret, the best perimeter defender in this competition.” “I think [Wednesday] It was a defensive clinic, leading with his chest, showing his hands and pressing all over the court. “And if you don’t think so, you don’t like basketball.”

Broadcasting Canada’s 100-89 win, while FIBA ​​allows boom mics to hang in groups, Brooks received specific instructions on how to stay in the face of Doncic’s provocative influence. “Protect him here,” Brooks explained, punching him in the hip as he stood guard. “You know what I’m saying? Let him go that way. We’ve got help, we’ve got turnovers, we’ve got steals.”

In Houston, Brooks’ guidance will be as important as his ability to guard. Talk of the Rockets’ impending free agent pursuit came shortly after Houston hired Imae Oduka, the man who oversaw the NBA’s best defense in the 2021-22 season, as the franchise’s next head coach. There is an identity change that Udoka plans to make on the ground floor of this renovation. The coach gets a lot of credit for pinpointing Brooks as the Rockets’ tool to raise that ceiling.

“He knows I bring a different kind of edge to the game,” Brooks told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve had my ups and downs with it. But I can teach the young guys. Houston was a good offensive team. They just needed more on the defensive end and emphasized defense first.”

Brooks has been anything but successful in setting the tone for the Grizzlies due to his failures with Memphis. As much as Memphis topped the Western Conference with it Ja MorantStunning drives and Desmond BaneMemphis played with the character of Brooks with the quick development and defensive strength of Jaren Jackson Jr. Rivals regularly complained about the Grizzlies’ collective grunt. It is not difficult to determine which hound led the pack.

Alas, that season is over for Brooks. Getting $86 million guaranteed from Houston will certainly help him adjust, leaving the only organization he’s known as a pro for the past 6 years. Brooks feels ready for a leadership role in his new landscape.

“Just having a positive mindset, knowing it’s going to be a day-by-day transition,” Brooks said. Getting better day by day and finding ways to believe in the details and believe in the little things that will get you where you need to be. “

Rest assured, Brooks has no plans to change his approach. The crowd at the Mall of Asia was filled with Doncic jerseys and the Filipino faithful, mostly leaning towards their side. Lakers Fans erupted in cheers from the moment Brooks stormed the field during the line-up announcement. Whenever he touched the ball, they soared. So unloading each of Brooks’ three triples, he walked over to the jester’s stands, put three fingers to his lips, and blew a kiss to the haters.

However, when a reporter asked Brooks if he was the best defender in the World Cup, his answer was a no-brainer. “Yeah. This tournament, this world, in the NBA. I feel like I bring a different type of defense with my intelligence and the way I play physically and my discipline on the court,” Brooks said.

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