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Where Are They Now: Brian Cook

The “where are they now?” series kicks off this summer with a look at Brian Cook, a shot-happy power forward of the early 2010’s.

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Clippers’ Career: Brian Cook was signed in the last pre-Chris Paul era free agency, all the way back in July of 2010. He was one of several free agents the Clippers signed at the start of free agency, the others being Ryan Gomes (who I wrote about last year) and Randy Foye. ‘Cookie’ played a season and a half with the Clippers-- a rotation player in 2010-2011, and a bench warmer in 2011-2012, when the Clips rocketed to contention. He was a bit ahead of his time as a true stretch power forward (he would have had a much better career had he come into the NBA five years later than he did), though by the end of his NBA career he was too slow to even defend those. A legitimate threat from outside, Cook sadly didn’t have much else in his repertoire, and his liabilities elsewhere made him unplayable on a good team. The Clippers traded him to the Wizards at the trade deadline for Nick Young, who went on to play a key role in the Clippers’ fortunes the remainder of the season. Cook played scantly for the Wiz as well, making just 16 brief appearances.

2012-2013: Brian re-signed with the Wizards in September 2012, but was waived in late October, right before the start of the season. After nearly a decade in the NBA, Cook was probably hoping for another chance in the world’s premier basketball league, but no opportunities arose. In March, he signed with the Piratas de Quebradillas of the Puerto Rican league—obviously a huge step down. Cook only played two games for the Piratas, scoring 9.5 points per game, and pulling down 6.5 rebounds a game. His tendency to ball-hog may have been a reason for his tenure getting cut so short, as he took 10.5 shots per game in just 19 minutes, and hit on only 28.6% of his field goals. With that, Cook’s career in Puerto Rico was over.

2013-2014: Cookie was able to get a training camp deal with the Jazz in late September, but was once again cut before the regular season started in late October. After this disappointment, Brian didn’t sign with another team for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season, apparently content to sit on the sidelines.

2014-2015: Like clockwork, Cook managed to get a training camp deal before preseason, this time with the Pistons. And, yet again, he was let go before any real games were played. This year, however, Cook went overseas to play, joining Al-Riyadi, a team in Lebanon’s first league. He played a mere three games for them before leaving, averaging 10 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. After a month or so, Cook signed a deal with Aguada of the Uruguayan basketball league, but only played three games with them as well. His stats, funnily enough, were almost identical: 10 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. While not awful, those rather limited numbers in relatively low-quality leagues certainly suggested any NBA comeback was highly improbable.

2015-2016: Having struggled to find a home in Puerto Rico, Lebanon, and Uruguay, Cook turned his gaze further afield, signing with the Chiba Jets of the Japanese National Basketball League in June 2015. While his stay in Japan wasn’t extensive either, it was still lengthier than all his previous non-NBA stops combined—he played 10 games for Chiba. No longer a starter even in Japan, Cookie averaged 12.7 minutes per game, scoring 7.5 points in that time. With that, a whimper rather than a bang, Brian Cook’s professional career ended.

BIG3: Like many ex-NBA players whose professional careers ended sooner than they would have liked, Brian signed up for the BIG3, the 3v3 league created by Ice Cube. He was drafted onto the Killer 3’s, a team captained by another ex-Clipper in Chauncey Billups, and featuring a third former Clip, Reggie Evans. Their season is ongoing, and is being covered right here at Clips Nation.

Future: The fact that Brian Cook’s post-NBA career lasted just 18 games spread out over four seasons and took place in leagues such as Lebanon and Uruguay are good signs that his playing days are mostly over. The BIG3 is a great home for Brian. It’s here in the United States, relatively low-key, and a gunner’s paradise. Get those shots up Cookie!