After a relatively quiet start to the year, Malcolm Brogdon has continued to emerge as a player who can take over games for Virginia. In last night's 64-61 loss to Miami, Malcolm singlehandedly kept the team in the game, matching a career high with 28 points on 12-18 shooting.
It's been a growing mystery why there hasn't been more discussion on Brogdon's NBA Draft stock. Until today, the fifth-year senior was barely ranked in Draft Express's top-100 prospects, and had yet to make an appearance in the site's mock drafts.
In Draft Express's latest update, Brogdon surged to the #40 overall prospect, and now goes 35th overall in the mock draft to the Boston Celtics. That's a pretty large leap for someone who had previously been off the board completely.
Brogdon's rise comes as a result of him showing off his strengths, as well as improving in areas that were previously weaknesses. His shooting has shown measurable improvement from earlier in his career, especially from behind the arc where he went from a 34% shooter last season to 41% this year to date. And he continues to be a dangerous and versatile threat to either get to the rim or pull up and hit a jumper. His 57.4% two-point shooting in conference play is 7th in the ACC, which is especially impressive considering his heavy usage (5th in the ACC) and high volume of jump shots (51% of his two-point shots are jumpers).
Defensively, Brogdon has benefited from taking advantage of opportunities to demonstrate his versatility. In a three day period he effectively covered both the 6'9" Brandon Ingram, who was on fire until Malcolm took over responsibility, and the 6'2" Cat Barber, who finished shooting 4-11 from the field. Ability to cover multiple positions is coveted at the next level, and Brogdon has the size and strength, as well as enough quickness, to do so.
Malcolm Brogdon may not be the perfect NBA prospect - his shooting is not quite elite and his mechanics are unorthodox. (At the very least, if he wants to be a "3 and D" player, he'll probably need to first prove a bit more consistency down the stretch). And he won't be fast enough to stay on some of the NBA's quicker guards. But he is one of the smarter and more coachable prospects out there. At the very least, Brogdon seems like a player that a team will take a second-round flyer on and who should get a chance to compete for a spot.
If Brogdon doesn't quite make it at the next level (or, heck, if he doesn't want to play in the NBA), he's got other goals on the horizon. Not many other NBA Draft prospects have plans to "create an NGO to alleviate poverty and hunger in third-world countries."