Dillon Brooks finds loophole with infuriating new defensive strategy

Dillon Brooks has cultivated a reputation as the NBA’s foremost evil defensive genius, but his newest trick might just be his most devilish. 

Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors
Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

If you ask Dillon Brooks, he’ll tell you his reputation is all a media and fan fabrication. And if you ask Dillon Brooks after he strikes another player below the belt in the preseason, he’ll say, “What’s my name? The name is ‘Dillon the Villain.’” Say what you will about Brooks, but whether it’s intentional or not, he has mastered the art of heel, and his newest trick might be his most dastardly. 

Dillon Brooks' newest trick

A post on NBA Reddit uncovered how Brooks is more effectively contesting jump shots by high-fiving the shooters’ hand after they release the ball. The tactic isn’t a foul, and by aiming and timing his contests to make contact with the shooter’s hand, he can better alter shots without racking up fouls. 

Brooks’ understanding of the rule book is just another example of how he is actually the NBA’s foremost evil genius. While most of the villain narrative Brooks has so recklessly cultivated is centered on trash-talking living legends or rash swipes to a man’s nether regions, he also has the perfect basketball mind and skillset to play the part. He's equal parts Bane and every nefarious lawyer.

The NBA needs 'Dillon the villain'

The NBA has built its brand around stars. They’re the hero of the story, and to craft a truly compelling narrative arc, you need a formidable foil for them to overcome. If the stars of the NBA are the best scorers and offensive players in the league, then naturally, their foils need to be the best defensive players, and Brooks has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best defenders on Earth. 

Brooks’ physical and aggressive defense has set the tone for every team he has played on. In Memphis, he hounded scorers on the wing as they rattled off consecutive seasons with the sixth, fourth, and second-ranked defense from 2020-21 to 2022-23. Now, in his first season in Houston, he has helped turn the 29th-ranked defensive from last season into the sixth-ranked unit. 

The defensive technique won’t stay hidden for long, but it may not stay legal. Star players will undoubtedly find the high-five of death an annoyance, and with Brooks as its poster child, it’s unlikely to receive much fanfare. For as much as Brooks’ villain persona is tiresome, it is also necessary. There are no heroes without villains, and Brooks’ undying desire to conquer the court has led to some of the most entertaining stories in recent years. Dillion Brooks understands the assignment, and the sport is better off for it. 

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