clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Opinion: Malcolm Brogdon is the NBA Rookie of the Year

Virginia’s latest NBA player deserves the award over challengers from Philly.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Brogdon should be the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year.

If you disagree with the above statement, you are probably living within the Philadelphia city limits or think players are only as good as points per game...or heaven forbid, both.

Nah, but seriously. With the regular season drawing to a close, voters have to submit their NBA ballots by 11:59pm on Friday. So here’s the deal.

No first year player is providing more to their team right now than Brogdon is to the Milwaukee Bucks. If you take Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid out of the equation due to the fact that he only played 31 games this season, it comes down to Philadelphia 76er Dario Saric or Malcolm “The Prez” Brogdon.

Let’s look at the numbers first.

Saric is an outstanding player. He is a 6-10 power forward from Croatia who was drafted 12th overall by the Orlando Magic in 2014. He has spent the last two years playing professionally in Turkey (but you know, he’s “a rookie”). Since Embiid went out with injury, Saric’s minutes and usage rates have gone up, as has his point production. Saric has had to take on the burden of scoring, and he’s currently averaging 12.8 points, 2.2 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 41.1% from the field.

Brogdon? He’s putting up 10.2 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game and shooting 45.6% (40.3% from three). As a forward Saric’s assists per game and 3PT% (31.1%) are understandably lower than Brogdon’s, just as the Prez has fewer rebounds (but averages 1.1 steals per game). The two play almost identical minutes (just over 26 minutes per game), with Saric having a 24.6% usage rate to Brogdon’s 18.5%. At the free throw line, Brogdon is converting 86%; Saric makes just 78%.

Some other fun facts, courtesy of our STL stats guru, Danny Neckel (I’ve bolded my favorites):

  • Brogdon has a better 3PT% and assist to turnover ratio than Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, and John Wall.
  • Brogdon is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 10 points, four assists and one steal a game with less than two turnovers.
  • Bucks record when Brogdon starts: 17-10 (.629), Other games: 25-29 (.462)
  • Bucks record when Brogdon scores 12 or more: 22-10 (.687) Other games: 20-29 (.408)
  • The only rookies in NBA history to shoot at least 45% FG, 40% 3PT, 86% FT with four assists per game? Steph Curry and Malcolm Brogdon.
  • 69 NBA players have attempted at least 185 shots in the 4th quarter. The top two in shooting percentage? Lebron James and Malcolm Brogdon.
  • Brogdon leads all rookies with a 4.1 win share. That is higher than 11 rookies that won ROY, including Durant, Wiggins, and Michael Carter-Williams.
  • Brogdon's win share of 4.1 is higher than any player on the Kings, Lakers, Magic, or 76ers this year.
  • Brogdon is in the top 50 in 5 different NBA categories for qualified players including assists, steals, and 3PT%.
  • Brogdon is the only rookie with a triple-double.

Here’s what it comes down to. Malcolm Brogdon is a starter on a playoff team who has the most win shares of any rookie. On Monday night, with their 89-79 win over Charlotte, Milwaukee ensured a winning season for the first time since 2009-2010. Brogdon has been a huge part of that as he provides a steady hand, high basketball IQ, and veteran-like game to Jason Kidd and the Bucks.

Brad Stevens, the head coach for the Eastern Conference leading Celtics, had high praise for Brogdon after The Prez handled everything Boston threw at him in the fourth quarter.

From Adam Himmelsbach at the Boston Globe:

“He’s not a rookie,” he said, before repeating the statement for emphasis. “He’s not a rookie. And I say that with complete respect to him. Like, that guy, he knows how to play. He’s known how to play for a long time.”

I mean look at this...

This was after Brogdon had two made baskets and two assists when the Celtics tied the game at 93 with 2:46 to play, in a pivotal late season game.

That’s a Rookie of the Year play right there.

Additionally, Malcolm is putting his teammates in spots to be successful. In a piece done by SportsChannel8, Brian Geisinger points out that, “[Giannis] Antetokounmpo has 57.2 percent of his two-point field goals after a pass from Brogdon” and, “[Greg] Monroe has 62 percent from the field after a pass from Brogdon.” For a player who was primarily known for their defense (two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year will do that), the Prez holds the third best ORtg for the Bucks when he’s on the court.

It is true that Brogdon was not voted Rookie of the Month at all this season (who cares), was drafted in the second round (makes the story better, if you ask me), and has good players surrounding him so he has more options and isn’t burdened with “having to score” (also, who cares).

None of those statements negate the fact that he’s ben a consistent contributor to a winning team.

Oh, and he dunked on LeBron James.

Just earlier today, Brogs was named to the top spot of the’s Kia Rookie Ladder. It was the first time he earned the #1 spot, and today’s was the final edition of the rankings. The author, Scott Howard-Cooper, said this:

“He has been dependable and consistent in a season that has lacked that from first-year players, none of which is a compliment accompanied by a yawn. Any playoff team would embrace dependable and consistent from a rookie as great praise. Brogdon did what was needed and did it at a high level, and that is worth more than praise in the days before Rookie of the Year ballots are due.”

Brogdon is not, nor is ever likely to be, a flashy player (despite some impressive dunks).

He’s the guy who is dependable, consistent, and savvy.

He’s the guy that looks for the open player, gets back on defense, and is the ultimate team player.

He’s the guy that asked the Bucks organization to donate the money they would have spent on a Rookie of the Year campaign, instead of making promotional material.

He’s the guy that has been a contributor to the Milwaukee Bucks since day one, helping his team not only make the playoffs, but be a formidable foe.

He’s the guy that should be the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year.

He’s the guy that won’t ask you to vote for him, so I will. Vote Malcolm Brogdon for Rookie of the Year. He’s the most qualified and deserving candidate.