Brian Cook hasn’t been shy about releasing his line-drive three-pointers since arriving in the three-team trade deadline deal with the Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers. In six games with the Wizards, the 6-foot-9 big man has taken 11 shots from long distance, making three, which has actually improved his three-point shooting percentage on the season.
But with the Wizards down to just three big men – four, if you throw in small forward Chris Singleton – Cook is getting more minutes and had a chance to show another side of his game in the Wizards’ 109-96 loss to Indiana. Cook rebounded a miss by Pacers reserve George Hill and took off on a full-court dribbling display that Wizards fans had grown accustomed to seeing when JaVale McGee (another big man who wanted to make plays like a guard) was in Washington.
As Cook elevated for an awkward layup, Pacers reserve Tyler Hansbrough fouled him and sent him to the foul line, where he made one of two free throws. The last time Cook took off on a one-man break like that?
“High school, college, something like that,” Cook said with a smile. “I had a growth spurt when I was young, that’s why I play on the perimeter a lot. I grew five inches in one summer. I can do it when I want to, but in the NBA, they put limitations on me. They want me to be a pick-and-pop guy, and that was my opportunity to show it a little bit.”
The Wizards (12-42) would prefer for Cook to toss the ball to a guard and run the floor. But with Nene and Trevor Booker dealing with injuries to their left feet, they’ll accept more 10-point, 9-rebound performances from Cook off the bench. Cook reached his season-highs in scoring and rebounding against the Pacers – he hadn’t scored 10 points since last April or grabbed nine rebounds since Nov. 26, 2010.
And, his 29 minutes played exceeded his total from the entire month of February with the Clippers.
“It was good to get out there a little bit,” Cook said. “Haven’t played for a while. Sitting behind Blake and DeAndre and Reggie Evans when I was out there” in Los Angeles.
Cook had considered a buyout when he first arrived in Washington, but he has embraced the change, since he is getting more of an opportunity to contribute with the Wizards’ front court depleted and currently dismissed (Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis aren’t traveling with the team as they deal with injuries). His wife and kids have also joined him in the District.
“I like it a lot,” Cook said of Washington. “My family is out here now with me, touring around the city, seeing all the tourist attractions.”
He also was familiar with several of his teammates, having played with Maurice Evans and Lewis in previous stops and working out with John Wall and Jordan Crawford in the offseason in Los Angeles.
“It was a pretty easy transition for me,” Cook said. “They are a good group of guys, and easy to play with.”
His comfort is starting to show in his play, as Cook also had eight points in the previous game against Milwaukee.
“Brian goes out and plays hard,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “Tries to do the right things. Spreads the floor a little bit. He hasn’t played very much this year. He’s probably now getting his legs underneath him a little bit. I think that’s starting to show in his play and I think he did do a nice job” against Indiana.