With the recent rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, the Milwaukee Bucks have a promising core for the future of the franchise. The work of coach Jason Kidd in surrounding the young stars with strong defensive talent and respected veterans has allowed them to blossom. However the youthful Bucks are still one piece away from truly contending with the top teams of the East and they may have found the perfect player with the 36th overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft.
Malcolm Brogdon, the 6’5 point guard from Virginia announced himself onto the NBA stage with a triple double (15 points 11 rebounds 12 assists) against the Chicago Bulls on the 31st of December 2016. During his time at Virginia, Brogdon racked up personal awards twice being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, named ACC Player of the Year (2016), named to the All-American First Team and NABC Defensive Player of the Year last year.
Malcolm could be the saviour of the Milwaukee franchise having already taken over the starting point guard position 32 games into the season. With the exploits of Joel Embiid, there has been little to no coverage of the impressive rookie guard, the only time he has truly been spoken of was after he posterised LeBron James. With season averages of 8.3 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game and 3.6 assists per game, these are only due to rise with his promotion to his starting five.
However it is not only on the offensive side of the ball where Brogdon exceeds. His natural size and athleticism allows him to slot in perfectly to the switching defence of the Bucks and only aids with the growth of this promising young team. If he can continue to improve on his defensive prowess, he may become one of the top lockdown defenders in the league within a few years which is exactly what this Milwaukee team needs.
As Giannis will continue to control and run the offense, Brogdon will not be forced to lead the majority of the playmaking, allowing him to improve on his off ball cutting and shooting abilities which he has already shown off early this season with a 44.1% from deep. If Brogdon can work in a primarily off ball role in the offence, the Milwaukee Bucks will continue to grow as the spacing opens up allowing cutting and driving lanes for Parker and Antetokoumpno.
In relation to the other star rookies from this season, Brogdon may end up as one of the top young players from this years draft as his production and potential match, if not exceeds those of heralded rookies Jamaal Murray, Kevin Dunn and Jayden Brown. It appears on the surface that Brogdon has flown under the radar of many, with writers and fans alike preferring high-scoring rookies over more technically sound rookies. Whilst Embiid is one of the best young bigs to come into the league, the promise Brogdon shows for the Bucks and the future he promises as a sidekick for the potential superstars of Parker and Antetokoumpno should be coveted greater and in more depth.
When the 2016 draft is revisited in a few years time, Brogdon will be seen as a consensus lottery pick that could have aided many teams and will have teams kicking themselves for not taking the scrappy playmaker from Virginia