It’s nearly the regular season folks, which means it’s time to start contrived “countdown to tipoff” pieces. Our series will be called the Calculated Countdown, where we take a particular statistic from last season that corresponds to the number of days left till tipoff and analyze it in the context of this upcoming year. Today, we’re looking at the sticky palms of Point Brogdon.
4 Days to Tipoff: 4.15 average touch time for Malcolm Brogdon
Much like our earlier examination of Malcolm Brogdon’s skills as a driver, today will focus on ways the reigning Rookie of the Year may look to expand his game. One of those could be learning to distribute the ball quicker, particularly around the perimeter. Last year Brogdon’s average time per touch was 4.15 seconds, second on the team to Matthew Dellavedova (4.17) and the subject of today’s examination.
Within the immediate team context, their lead point guard averaging the longest touch time certainly makes sense. He’s bringing the ball up the floor, ergo that number will tend to be inflated given a generally lethargic pace to advance towards the frontcourt. What that number also illustrates though is Brogdon’s occasional penchant for pounding the ball into the court. Now, he’s a more than willing driver, but occasionally he’ll search for something and when he can’t blow past his man he’ll instead settle for a mid-range jumper. His efficiency on those is wanting.
In terms of the context of other projected starting point guards in the league, Brogdon’s touch time actually ranks near the bottom of those ranks. However, guys like Stephen Curry, Rajon Rondo, DeAngelo Russell and Patrick Beverley (his closest analogue among those four) still all rank below him in terms of average touch time. In terms of pure talent, each of them have a rationale for holding onto the ball longer than Brogdon given their ball handling skills, superior passing vision or ability to shake a defender and pull-up. It’s a little peculiar both he and Delly have such high touch times given the fact they were specifically brought in to be guys that could spot up around the perimeter and shoot. Theoretically that should decrease their overall figure, but then again we are talking about two guys whose shooting motions move with the speed of a rickety catapult.
So what could Brogdon do to try and nudge that number down a smidge? Working off ball more is the obvious answer and a likely reality with Middleton healthy all year, putting less stress on Brogdon to be the primary playmaker on second units. Middleton’s laissez-faire attitude in the pick-and-roll and as a pull-up player make him more deadly in the halfcourt too. It’s arguable whether Brogdon has better passing chops than Middleton, but personally I think Brogdon is a smoother passer in a packed paint while Middleton’s height makes him more adept at seeing over the defense and finding a roll man or perimeter outlet while barreling to the rim.
This is all ancillary to the fact that Giannis should probably hold the ball for longer than Brogdon, but Giannis’ generous attitude is one that will hopefully infect Milwaukee’s stately primary ball handler. The Bucks offense has never been known for supreme fluidity, but ensuring the ball gets worked around quicker, and more effectively, by guys like Brogdon and Delly should be beneficial to the entire team.