The only free agents that the Sacramento Kings hauled in this summer were Jason Thompson, for four years a King already, and Aaron Brooks, a small point guard long of interest to Geoff Petrie. Brooks, known as a scorer first but a player who has averaged better than five assists per 36 minutes for his career, fell out of favor in Houston in 2010-11 (beaten by Kyle Lowry) and was eventually traded for Goran Dragic (who beat out Lowry [sorta] but has been replaced by Jeremy Lin).
He wasn't in the league last year (he stayed in China, where he'd signed before the lockout ended), and as a result was way down most teams' priority lists in 2012 free agency. The Kings scooped him up on a cheap one-year deal with a player option for 2013-14. The deal is quite nice for Sacramento: at best, we have one cheap year on a good player. At worst, we have two cheap years on a poor player. Chances are we'll have one cheap year on a fair player, and maybe a further cheap few years on that same fair player.
The question that has surrounded Brooks thus far, though, is whether he'll be a full-time back-up, or whether he'll push Isaiah Thomas for the starting job.
It's worth remembering why Thomas got the starting job in the first place: Tyreke Evans wasn't able to get the offense moving coherently as the point, though we could perhaps blame two of his fellow starters (John Salmons, later benched, and J.J. Hickson, later waived). Jimmer Fredette wasn't ready as a rookie to run the offense; Isaiah Thomas was ready ... as a rookie. The team bloomed with Tyreke at small forward and Isaiah at point guard. While we expect Evans to move back to shooting guard with the arrival of James Johnson (though that's all hardly a certainty), Isaiah has effectively ended the Tyreke Is A PG era.
But if Isaiah took the job because no one else could handle it, does the new presence of someone else who can handle it change the math?
I still believe that Isaiah will hold onto it. He's met every challenge he's faced in Sacramento so far, and the competition should only spur him to keep working hard. While Brooks was a good pick-up, he's flawed as a starting point guard: he had a usage rate above 25 percent in his past two NBA seasons, and Isaiah was below 20. With DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and possibly also Marcus Thornton in the starting five, you can't have a point guard taking a quarter of the team's shots ... especially if he's not doing it efficiently.
So Isaiah is probably the better point guard, full stop. He's also a better fit for the Kings' best players. To me, that makes it certain he'll enter the season as the No. 1 point guard. Things could change, but Isaiah would have to really fall off, I think, for a permanent switch to be made.
(The most interesting subplot: both Brooks and Thomas are SeaTac guys. That's a close-knit basketball family. This should be a friendly rivalry all the way through, much like Isaiah and Jimmer has been.)