Although we’ve barely reached the three-week mark into the 2018-19 season, Milwaukee Bucks combo guard Malcolm Brogdon is taking his shooting efficiency to new heights in his third year as a pro.
Standing at 8-1 through their first nine games, a mark that’s currently good for second in the East and tied for third in all of the league, all is clearly well for the Milwaukee Bucks to start this season.
Yes, we’re still in the small sample size portion of the campaign, but the Bucks’ glittering start to the year has already transcended their standing of being perennially on the rise the last few years, but never getting over that hurdle for a variety of reasons.
Although the early plaudits have centered around the overhaul that new head coach Mike Budenholzer has overseen from the bench as well as the superstar play of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the list has been long in terms of the reasons and the contributors that have driven the Bucks’ strong success so far.
As for Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks’ all-purpose combo guard is once again delivering solid production in his trademark under the radar fashion.
Brogdon’s placement in the Bucks’ starting lineup came as one of the biggest changes heading into the season regarding the team’s rotation under Budenholzer and there was plenty of sensible thought behind that decision.
After all, playing Brogdon alongside the Bucks’ most talented players boosts that lineup’s versatile capabilities on both ends of the floor as ESPN’s Zach Lowe remarked on before the start of the season during his crazy predictions piece.
Between that and the arrival of veteran big man Brook Lopez, the Bucks’ starting five has been a net positive machine as evidenced by the fact that unit has posted a +7.0 net rating in the 84 minutes they all have shared the floor together, per NBA.com/stats.
But as it stands for Brogdon’s individual play, the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year’s scoring efficiency has been unlocked under the Bucks’ new-look, potent offense.
Through his first nine games, Brogdon is averaging 13.3 points on shooting splits of .506/.438/1.000, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Not only does that scoring uptick rank ahead as a career-high on the 13 points per game he tallied last year, but Brogdon’s efficiency from all levels of the floor places him as an early contender for the 50-40-90 club.
In fact, those marks put Brogdon in elite company as only Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has eclipsed those efficiency benchmarks while averaging at least 10 points per game and appearing for most of the season so far, according to Basketball-Reference.com (sorry, Will Barton).
Delving deeper, two areas of Brogdon’s overall shot profile stand out for all the right reasons, given the principles of the offensive revolution instituted under Coach Bud.
First, Brogdon has just been plain lethal knocking down catch and shoot threes as he’s connected on 13 of his 24 attempts in that regard, a mark that comes in at 54.2 percent.
Secondly, Brogdon has been an expert driver towards the basket to start the year. Averaging 8 drives per game, a mark that stands behind Antetokounmpo and point guard Eric Bledsoe for the Bucks, Brogdon has put home 50 percent of his 4.4 driving field goal attempts per game this season.
Having reshaped his shot selection like all Bucks players this year, there are areas Brogdon could improve within in order to make his high scoring efficiency last throughout the year. Finishing in the restricted area stands at the top of the list, considering his finishing has tumbled from 61.8 percent on 207 attempts last year to 56.1 percent on 41 attempts to start the campaign.
But suffice to say, Brogdon has adapted to his new role of joining the starting lineup with little to no hiccups occurring and again, while it’s early, it’s been to his and the Bucks’ benefit as a whole.