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Malcolm Brogdon: A Vital Piece of the Bucks’ Puzzle

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He has been an anchor for this Bucks team.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Now in his third season in a Milwaukee Bucks uniform, starting guard Malcolm Brogdon has been a model of consistency while quietly helping elevate the ceiling of this Bucks’ team.

He’s got his season averages up to 15.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in 29.4 minutes per game. Even though those stats aren’t very far off from what he averaged last season’s injury-stunted campaign (13/3.3/3.2), the biggest difference this year has been his elite marksmanship from pretty much every spot on the floor. The President is shooting 51.4% from the floor on 11.5 FGA this year and has his three-point percentage sitting at a white-hot 43.2. That’s not only the 16th best in the NBA, but would also be a career-high. He’s also shooting 98.6 percent from the foul line. (Please don’t let this jinx him)

Let’s take a look at areas where Brogdon inflicts the most damage.

Brogdon’s shot chart this season
statmuse.com

He’s shooting 37.1% on three-pointers attempted from the right wing and 32% from the top of the arch. However, Brogdon has been elite when attempting triples from the left wing (45.8%), the left corner (43.8%) and from the right corner (66.7%). All three of those percentages are well over the league average. He has also only taken 16 midrange jumpers this season compared to the 67 he took last season. Malcolm Brogdon has been great at picking his shots this season, and he is moving well without the ball in his hands to spot up from three.

He especially flourishes when it comes to catch & shoot threes, he knocks them down at a 50.5 percent clip which is 16th best in the league. However, his shooting takes a bit of a dip when it’s not a catch & shoot opportunity, with just 14-60 (23.3%) on pull-up jumpers this season. His 6-32 mark from deep on those is a depressing regression from his 19-39 (48.7%) mark the year prior. Something that I don’t think gets talked about enough is how he drives to the basket so effortlessly. At 6’5”, he is a bit undersized for his position, but makes up for it with tremendous balance and upper-body strength. He is converting 59 percent of his shots from around the rim so far, and a multitude of those are straight blow-by layups or a reverse layup when he’s driving baseline. Brogdon is almost unstoppable when going to his left which is a skill of his that is criminally under-appreciated.

Malcolm Brogdon and Giannis Antetokounmpo play very well together when they’re both on the floor. A two-man lineup of Brogdon and Antetokounmpo is the 5th best two-man lineup the Bucks have. In 34 games and 806 minutes on the floor together, the duo has a 110.6 ORtg, a stifling DRtg of 102.3 and has a NetRtg of +8.2. For those doing the math at home, that’s a damn good two-man game. When these two share the floor, we’ve been seeing the “Tony Snell” play utilized a bit for Brogdon with the assist coming from Giannis.

Naturally, everyone is going to play better when Antetokounmpo is on the floor. However, Brogdon generally continues to play well with the other starters (Middleton, Lopez, and Bledsoe). When playing alongside Khris Middleton the duo generate a 110.5 ORtg, 104.2 DRtg and has a NetRtg of +6.3. With Brogdon and Brook Lopez on the court together they put up a 113.7 (!!!!) ORtg, 103.2 DRtg and has a NetRtg of +10.5 in 612 minutes. When it comes him and Eric Bledsoe, their advanced metrics dip slightly. In 542 minutes the Brogdon-Bledsoe tandem does well offensively (109.9 ORtg) but their DRtg slips to 105.2 and their NetRtg is “only” +4.7. Oddly though, he still sports a -1.9 net rating between his on court and off court figures. Part of that could be due to jumping into bench units to help close out quarters, and he’s also part of one of the few 2-man lineups with a decent number of minutes that sports a negative net rating (Brogdon/Ersan is -3.3 net rating in 251 minutes).

For all the good that he’s showed us this season, there have still been a few gaffes on his behalf. He does have his limitations offensively outside of his quick drives to the basket and catch & shoot opportunities. Malcolm Brogdon isn’t the best ball handler, and at times has been a bit dribble happy this season, which have resulted in wasted possessions. Furthermore, another issue is his lack of playmaking in transition. This is a big area where he must improve in, as his presence drags the Bucks points per 100 possessions in transition down by 1.9 points, which ranks in the 15th percentile among combo guards per Cleaning The Glass. We’ve seen it since he’s been in a Bucks uniform...he would lead a 3-on-1 fast-break only to opt and take the contested layup rather than make the extra pass to an open teammate for the easy score.

Brogdon is currently on pace to join the heralded 50-40-90 club that has only 7 members. The names on that list? Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Larry Bird. While he is not putting up All-Star numbers this season, he is surely shooting the ball like one. He’s hit countless big shots for the Bucks this season, and he’s played an integral part in the Bucks being 28-11. Pretty formidable for a third option, eh?

Even with the occasional lapse in play, it’s difficult to not be pleased with what Malcolm Brogdon has brought to the table this season.