One reason the Boston Celtics were able to acquire Malcolm Brogdon for such a small return is his troubling injury history.
The impressive guard only played in 36 regular season games last season and has appeared in more than 60 competitions only twice in his six-year NBA career. As such, Brogdon isn’t the kind of player to build your team around as there’s no telling when his next sacking might come.
Perhaps that’s why an Eastern Conference executive, who spoke to Heavy.com on condition of anonymity, is so adamant that Brogdon will be used as an influencer rather than the center of Boston’s rotation.
“The knock on him when he left college was that he had horrible knees… I mean, some of the exams were really suspect in terms of how long his lower body would hold up to NBA pounding. That’s why he ended up going into the second round because he was damn close to the red flag.
So the fact of the matter is he’s probably better off coming off the bench with limited minutes and trying to be effective at 18 rather than trying to play 30 and always being injured. The question is how he’s going to accept that,” the executive said Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpet.
When healthy, Brogdon is arguably the third-best player on the Celtics roster behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but his inability to remain available throughout the season could give the Celtics pause as they build their rotations for next season .
Rival Executive believes ‘less is more’ for Brogdon
Heading into the offseason, the Celtics were clearly trying to improve their second unit’s play style after watching the offense stagnate when Brown or Tatum weren’t on the ground. Brogdon’s addition quickly solves that need – if he can be a pick.
Therefore, an opposing team leader, who also spoke to Heavy.com on condition of anonymity, determined how Brogdon could be best served by acting in a greatly reduced role, hoping limited minutes could help his Maintain health throughout an entire NBA season.
“He doesn’t have to be a big star there – a big minute guy – to make a big impact. Malcolm Brogdon at his best can make a big difference in this rotation if they can keep him grounded.
You know how good Boston’s starters are, so what happens if they can bench and keep the hammer down? Who’s going to be able to match that kind of depth if they lose those stupid stagnant one-on-one S’s and play right? If they did that consistently against the Golden State Warriors, they would get rings,” the manager told Bulpett.
With two separate executives sharing similar opinions about the former Indiana Pacers guard, it’s clear there’s a shared consensus across the league that Brogdon can be an impactful player for Boston — if Ime Udoka and his coaching staff handle the situation correctly.
Brogdon’s arrival improves the Celtics
Despite his injury woes, Brogdon is a clear talent asset for the Celtics, particularly as a backup ballhandler and pick-and-roll orchestrator. According to Instat tracking data, Brogdon fired 240 shots last season as a PnR ball handler, 38.8% of which came from the edge (93 attempts) – he converted with a 44% clip.
The 1.80 meter guard is also a talented slasher who changes gears quickly and consistently gets to the edge. All of these attributes fit into Ime Udoka’s offensive system, and given Brogdon’s playing skills, we could see some of the team’s snipers drawing some quality looks thanks to drive-and-kick opportunities.
A potential guard rotation of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown (who spends most of his time shooting guard), Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon and Payton Pritchard is an incredibly deep rotation that could rival and feature some of any team in the league the best full-back – which continues to adhere to the current vision that Udoka and Stevens have for the team.
However, until we see Brogdon speaking out and consistently producing without wasting any time, we shouldn’t expect him to be anything more than a highly effective role-player.
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