CHICAGO – Aaron Brooks watched attentively as Denver assistant Melvin Hunt used a laptop to go over the Nuggets' system. Jan Vesely also kept a close watch on the screen from his seat on the other side of Hunt.
The pregame locker-room tutorial was just part of a busy Friday for Brooks and Vesely, who were acquired in separate trades on Thursday. They joined their new team in Chicago, passed their physicals, and played double-digit minutes in Denver's 117-89 loss to the Bulls.
"I got a little bit more confident toward the end," said Brooks, who had 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. "You can tell the team is a little rusty as far as me getting in there, but I think we'll figure it out."
Brooks played 28 minutes in his Nuggets debut, which included a technical foul when he was involved in a tussle with Chicago's Joakim Noah in the third. The 7-foot Vesely had five points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
"Aaron was good. He was aggressive," coach Brian Shaw said. "Offensively, as a point guard, you have the ball in your hand. He's been in the league for a while now, so he understands how to play. Being thrown in the situation he was thrown into, I thought he did a good job.
"Jan is feeling his way through. He's not an offensive player. The things he brings to the table are more intangible things, so they won't go as noticed by the typical fan. But I like his activity."
The Nuggets sent shooting guard Jordan Hamilton to Houston for Brooks, a veteran guard who averaged 7 points in 43 games with the Rockets. With Ty Lawson sidelined by a rib injury, Brooks is expected to get plenty of time at the point after he averaged only 16.7 minutes this season in his previous stop.
Vesely was acquired in a three-team deal that sent disgruntled point guard Andre Miller from Denver to Washington on NBA trade deadline day. Vesely, selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2011 draft, averaged 3.2 points in 33 games with the Wizards.
The contracts for Brooks and Vesely expire after this season, giving the Nuggets increased roster flexibility.
Shaw compared the situation to when he was traded from Boston to Miami during the 1991-92 season, and said he was pleased with how Brooks jumped right in and asserted himself.
"Aaron was very vocal when he was out there on the court, telling guys where to go," Shaw said.
Brooks, selected 26th overall by Houston in 2007, had a breakout playoff run in 2009. He averaged 16.8 points in 13 games, including a 34-point performance in Game 4 of a second-round series against the Lakers. He then set career highs with averages of 19.6 points and 5.4 assists in 2009-10, when he was named the league's most improved player.
Brooks had to approve the deal to the Nuggets (25-29), who have dropped six of seven with the loss to the Bulls.
"It's a good team," he said before the game. "There's still the possibility we could still make the playoffs. Of course, I wanted to play. Always had a good time in Denver."
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap