When the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets swapped underachieving point guards Goran Dragic and Aaron Brooks, each team was hoping that the point guard they received would return to an improved shooting form of a previous season. Unfortunately for the Houston Rockets, they are unlikely to actually see Dragic improve his shooting percentages while Aaron Brooks, playing for the Phoenix Suns, is a sure bet to return to his former shooting prowess.
The reason for the prediction that Brooks is the more likely candidate to shoot better for the rest of the season is simple. His shooting performances in his 34 games with the Rockets before being traded to the Suns were very uncharacteristic of him and unlike his shooting in any other season.
In his 34 games for the Rockets, Brooks posted a 40.8 effective field goal percentage and 46.5 true shooting percentage. During his other seasons, Brooks posted a 49.3 effective field goal percentage and 53.5 true shooting percentage in 2007-08, a 47.6 effective field goal percentage and 52.1 true shooting percentage in 2008-09, and a 51.1 effective field goal percentage and 54.9 true shooting percentage.
Brooks' shooting this season for the Rockets had been so dissimilar to his others that both his effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentages were statistically significantly inferior to his shooting statistics last season and were not far off from being statistically significantly inferior to his first two seasons in the NBA.
Since Brooks has 213 games of adequate shooting and only 34 games of poor shooting, considering the sample sizes of the two data sets, the 213 games are more representative of his true shooting ability. Therefore, the Suns can expect him to improve in that department and post a true shooting percentage around 53.0 percent for them going forward.
Meanwhile, in the case of Dragic, it is not this season we should be looking at as not correctly stating his ability as a shooter. In his 48 games with the Suns this year, Dragic had a 46.5 effective field goal percentage and 49.2 true shooting percentage.
Those shooting percentages have a lot more in common with his rookie 2008-09 season where he had a 43.8 effective field goal percentage and 48.7 true shooting percentage than they do with last season's 52.7 effective field goal percentage and 56.6 true shooting percentage.
In fact, Dragic's true shooting percentage with the Suns this season is statistically significantly worse than his last season mark and his effective field goal percentage is right on the cusp of being statistically significantly worse, meaning it is last season of which we should be skeptical when judging Dragic's shooting ability.
The difference between the two data sets, 103 games of poor shooting and 80 games of great shooting, is not as stark as the difference for Brooks' data sets, but Dragic does have more of a history of being a bad shooter. It is his impressive shooting from last year that is the statistical outlier so the Rockets should not expect him to reach those kinds of shooting heights again. They should just prepare themselves to experience a continuation of his season's poor shooting under their watch.
Even if neither point guard's shooting improves with his new team, Brooks will still give the Suns more value than Dragic because he is a better ballhandler. His assist percentage to turnover percentage ratio is vastly superior to Dragic's so he does not have to rely on his shooting as much to be a good point guard.
It is a good thing for the Rockets that the Suns had to send a lottery-projected first-round draft pick along with Dragic since it is incredibly unlikely the Rockets will see the Dragic of last season.