It took four minutes and 33 seconds of preseason for Dillon Brooks to receive his first ejection as a member of the Houston Rockets. The NBA just threw in his first fine as well.
The league announced Thursday it had fined Brooks $25,000 for “recklessly making contact with Indiana Pacers center Daniel Theis in the groin area,” which is legal speak for Brooks hitting Theis in the crotch during a Pacers-Rockets preseason game.
Brooks was issued a flagrant 2 foul for the strike, which comes with an automatic ejection. You can see the incident here:
And here’s an alternate angle:
Brooks joined the Rockets during the offseason on a four-year, $80 million sign-and-trade after six seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, a tenure that ended with Brooks bathed in infamy for his one-sided feud with LeBron James. If the words “Dillon Brooks groin strike” sound familiar, it’s because he did the same thing to James during the NBA playoffs.
As Brooks took heat during that series, he blamed the media for turning him into a villain. He echoed that sentiment Tuesday when asked if he felt he was targeted due to his reputation:
“I don’t know. What’s the name? What’s my name? The name is Dillon the Villain, so I guess,”
Brooks defended the play with Theis, saying he was just trying to get around the big man’s screen:
“I tried to navigate a screen, I might have tapped him below the waist. But you know he got right back up,” Brooks said. “I don’t know, it’s weird that every time it happens to me I get picked on. But I guess it’s just a part of the reputation.”
Brooks made it pretty clear he has no plans to change his style of play as he left the Grizzlies, who reportedly did not plan to bring him back “under any circumstances.” The Rockets will have accepted that, as they brought him and former Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet to provide a veteran presence for one of the NBA’s youngest teams last season.