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How does Virginia Basketball replace Malcolm Brogdon?

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It will be a tall order, but here is how the Hoos will look to replace Malcolm Brogdon.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Miami vs Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We are just 15 days away from the 2016-2017 season kicking off, and it’s hard not to think of the player who donned that number for the Hoos last season: Malcolm Brogdon.

When given the question, how do you replace Malcolm Brogdon, I very simply wanted to say, you don’t. Next question. Two time All-Amercican, three time All-ACC, ACC Player of the Year in 2016, two time ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Masters in Public Policy from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. That guy isn’t walking through the door any time soon. Yet that is the challenge that faces Tony Bennett and the Virginia Cavaliers.

While it’s impossible to replace Malcolm Brogdon and all he gave to this program, it is possible to make up for some of his absence. Brogdon excelled in just about every facet of the game, offense, defense, and leadership. While it won’t be one player, the pieces to making up for his loss are in place, it’s just a matter of who steps up and how. Let’s take a look at each area of the game and see who to watch for.

First on offense, Brogdon averaged 18 points a game. On the surface, it’s not out of the realm of possible that London Perrantes, Devon Hall, Marial Shayok, and Kyle Guy all add four points to their scoring average. Digging a little bit deeper, Brogdon took about 30% of the shots when he was on the floor. Perrantes took 18%, Shayok 17%, and Hall was way down at 14%. That suggests that each of those players is in line for more opportunity. What each player does with that opportunity will be what to watch for.

Perrantes and Shayok offer perhaps the highest scoring potential this upcoming season. While each took less than 20% of the team’s shots when they were on the floor, both were extremely effective in the shots they did take. Perrantes and Shayok were one-two on the team in effective field goal percentage with 57.9% and 56.4% respectively. Compare that to Brogdon’s 53.2%. Effective field goal percentage combines the shooting percentage for both two and three point attempts made based on the premise that a player doesn’t have to shoot as high a percentage from three as they do from two in order to provide their team with the same scoring output.

Since both Perrantes and Shayok were more inclined to shoot threes than Brogdon (and had success doing so), they both saw a higher effective field goal percentage. Should they both continue to shoot at that high of an effective rate, coupled with the increase in shots, they could both see some big increases in raw scoring average.

Next, on defense. This will be a much taller task as Brodgon was one of the best defenders in the country. But it wasn’t just his ability to guard his position; Brogdon could shut down anyone you asked him to. When asked about replacing Brogdon, Bennett recognized, “We don’t have quite the experience, or the guys who can bail us out (guys who can say) I’m going to lock this guy up, the 1, 2, 3, or 4. Malcolm could do that.”

Shayok and Hall will figure to be the first two options at shutting down the opponent’s two guard and wing players. Look for Shayok to be the primary on-ball defender of the other team’s best player, a role he should have success in. At 6’5”, Shayok has great length. You also may recall in particular the tremendous defense he played on Grayson Allen’s buzzer beater in last year’s loss to Duke. It was a trip. Shayok will have to cut down on the fouls though as he averaged 4.0 fouls per 40 minutes.

On the other hand, avoiding fouls is an area where Hall could fill some of Brogdon’s void. He managed to commit only 2.6 fouls per 40 minutes, a rate just slightly worse than Brogdon’s 2.4. Regardless of any player's individual defensive ability, Virginia still defends as a team, minimizing the effect of losing any one player. This is a fact not lost on Bennett who conceded, “We’re going to have to be better this year with our system,” noting there isn’t a player of Brogdon’s individual talent.

Finally, the Hoos will have to replace his leadership. Brogdon was exactly what Coach Bennett wanted in a player. Almost Coach Bennett himself on the court — unfazed, calm — knew how to get the most out of his teammates. Brogdon was silent, almost boring, and even psyched himself up before a game by yawning. Let’s just say, that won’t be replicated.

Instead, look to Perrantes to take up the torch as the on-court leader. Now a senior, Perrantes never say he “deferred” to Brogdon in the leadership department. This will be his fourth year with the ball in his hands, the floor general of his team. Perrantes will be a different type of leader, more passionate and more demonstrative. There has also been talk about Hall’s emergence as a leader. Like London, he’s in his fourth year in the program and has been noted as very vocal in bringing the new players along.

Malcolm Brogdon is an all-time Wahoo great and I can’t wait to see his career unfold in the NBA, but his loss isn’t the end of the world. It’s going to take a village as no one player can replace all that Brogdon did and meant to this team, but if there’s one program that can endure a loss such as this, it’s Virginia.