Tha Sports Junkies 101

Malcolm Brogdon: Rookie of the Year Candidate

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Malcolm Brogdon deserves some R.O.Y. consideration


Malcolm Brogdon was drafted in June by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round with the 36th pick overall. After playing four incredibly decorated and successful seasons at the University of Virginia, there wasn’t much “Brogdon hype” going into the season. Guys who play four years at college don’t get the same type of recognition that the one-and-done’s get and that is an unfortunate aspect of the current amateur system that the NBA has in place. Unless you’re putting up near triple-doubles in college (i.e. Kris Dunn) then you may find yourself falling into the second round or even going undrafted.

Fast forward to the very beginning of 2017 and Brogdon is outplaying almost every single rookie. If it weren’t for Joel Embiid making NBA fans question their own personal existence, Brogdon would probably be the front-runner for this year’s Rookie of the Year award. Actually, he would be. Brogdon is, without a doubt, the second best rookie in the NBA right now and it really isn’t that close.

Through 33 games this season, Brogdon is averaging over 23 MPG while putting up 8.4 PPG/2.5 RPG/3.7 APG with only 1.5 turnovers per game.

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the video of Brogdon putting on a dunking clinic when the Bucks played the Cavs about two weeks ago. You know, when Brogdon first casually posterized poor Kyrie Irving in the first quarter, then somehow managed to throw down a reverse dunk on Lebron-freaking-James. If you somehow haven’t seen it, then allow me to make your life a little bit better.

When Brogdon isn’t dunking on future Hall of Famers, you might find him stuffing the stat sheet and maybe even recording triple-doubles, like the one he achieved just a few days on December 31st against the Bulls. In that game, Brogdon scored 15 points while adding 11 rebounds and 12 assists on 53% shooting. 

At 6’5″, Brogdon splits his playing reps between point guard and shooting guard. He is a big body who absorbs contact and can finish over opposing guards or, if he chooses to, back down smaller defenders. Even with a vertical of 35″, he can still explode over the defense as evidenced by the videos above. He has a very high basketball IQ and is great at knowing exactly where his teammates will be. He loves the bounce pass and takes advantage of his great vision to pass through defenders (He especially loves to do this on the fastbreak with Giannis and it works oh so well).

His style of play won’t “wow” you but it doesn’t need to, he is quick enough to stay in front of most guards and his hands are even faster. His shooting is consistent and he can knock down threes when he needs to. He also hasn’t turned the ball over more than 3 times in any game this season and has five or more assists in 10 games. To put it simply, he knows how to play the game and play it intelligently.

Brogdon’s averages are near the top of almost every category when paired next to other rookies. Of this season’s rookies who average more than 10 minutes per game, Brogdon ranks 5th in total minutes played (765), 2nd in assists (121), 3rd in steals (32), 5th in points (416), 6th in FG% (45%), 2nd in 3PT% (43%), and 5th in FT% (87%: He led the ACC in FT% his senior season at Virginia).

The Bucks are currently 17-16 and have been playing some inspiring basketball since December began and Brogdon began to excel. When Brogdon scores 10 or more points in a game, the Bucks are 10-5 and when Brogdon plays less than 20 minutes in a game, the Bucks are only 1-7. According to Basketball-Reference, of the 10 most efficient Milwaukee Bucks lineups, Brogdon is in 8 of them. He also leads all rookies in Win Shares (the estimated number of wins a player has contributed to) with 1.4, more than Joel Embiid who has contributed just 1.0.

If it (once again) weren’t for potential All-Star, Joel Embiid, Brogdon would have some Rookie of the Month awards by the time this season is all said and done, but he’ll have to settle for 2nd, something that still shouldn’t be ignored. The downside with Brogdon may be the fact that he stayed in college for so long. Granted, those years were necessary and have shaped him into the player he is now, but at 24 years old, he has to keep improving if he wants to continue to stay ahead of his fellow, teenaged rookies.

The Bucks are a team playing with confidence and poise right now when a lot fans (myself included) thought they would be awful, and Brogdon’s play, more specifically his play since December, has his team in a great position heading into the new year.


Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan


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(Stats via Basketball-Reference)