Malcolm Brogdon: Is He Any Good?

As Rookies of the Year go in NBA history, Malcolm Brogdon is one of those guys that you’d never remember won the award. You’d say to yourself, “OK, who was a rookie that year, Joel EmbiidBuddy HieldJamal Murray…Ben Sim, no, wait, Ben Simmons got hurt that year…”

Brogdon, the 36th overall pick, a second-rounder, ended up walking away with the award. Of the players in that 2016 draft, Brogdon is already third in Win Shares behind Simmons and Pascal Siakam, and just ahead of Domantas Sabonis.

And if you think that looks an awful lot like a pattern developing before we’re even out of the intro of an Is He Any Good piece, pipe down, any starter for a good team is going to rack up win shares (see Jakob Poeltl, who’s fifth on that list behind Sabonis.)

What you expect from a guy who was Rookie of the Year is a guy who, by Year 3, has developed into an above-average starter, possibly even a borderline All-Star, or the ROY is all hype and no substance.

No prizes for guessing the standards the stats are going to have to measure up to.

Brogdon’s probably more like the fourth-best player on the Bucks behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, and Khris Middleton, but just because you’re your team’s fourth-best player doesn’t mean you can’t be excellent (ask Thaddeus Young of the Pacers or Brogdon’s fellow second-round standout Draymond Green.)

Anyway, on with the show.

The Counting Stats

Brogdon is averaging 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 29.3 minutes. That’s 19.0, 5.7, and 4.3 per 36.

He’s shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 42.7 percent from three, and 95.6 percent from the line, and at before missing a free throw in each of the last three games, he’d been at 81-of-82 (98.8 percent), which would be an NBA record.

Does 50/40/90 sound familiar to anyone else as a mark of greatness?

Brogdon is an amazingly efficient scorer, taking advantage of his position as the fourth option to make defenses pay for sleeping on him.

So far, so good.

The Advanced Stats

Let’s run the Big 5 first so they’re out there in the open:

A PER of 17.5, True Shooting of .623, .170 WS/48, 1.6 BPM (well above average offensively, almost bang-on league average defensively), and 1.1 VORP (2.2 per 82 games.)

And he’s the fourth option.

Throw in a fantastic-for-a-guard .583 eFG% and you’ve got the best fourth-option scorer in the league.

Brogdon’s been a good three-point shooter since he came into the league (40.5 percent overall in three seasons, always around 30-32 percent of his shots from that range), and now he’s getting better at making his twos.

Brogdon takes just 6.8 percent of his shots between 10 feet and the three-point arc, a function of coach Mike Budenholzer’s excellent offensive scheme.

Where he’s gotten better is at successfully forcing his way to the rim—48.9 percent of his shots are coming within 3 feet, after just 40.6 and 37.4 percent of his shots from there in his first two years.

And he’s getting to be even better as a finisher, since his percentages from that close have in three years gone from 56.2 percent as a rookie to 66.0 and 66.5 in Years 2 and 3.

Great finisher for his size. Great three-point shooter. A game perfectly suited to his coach’s scheme. And three guys in front of him often drawing better defenders.

No wonder the Bucks are so good.

THE VERDICT!

Is Malcolm Brogdon good? You bet he is. 50/40/90 seasons don’t grow on trees, little guys aren’t supposed to be great consistent finishers, and if your fourth-best player is giving you .170 WS/48, you’re pretty good.

Emphatically Confirmed.

NEXT WEEK: Jusuf Nurkic.