Brogdon, 29, has spent the last three seasons operating as the Indiana Pacers’ lead guard, participating in 146 games and averaging 18.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 35.2% from deep and 49.8% from inside the perimeter.
However, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey believes that Brogdon’s $22.5 million yearly salary is the worst contract the Celtics currently have on their books – primarily due to Brogdon’s injury history throughout his career.
“Boston probably doesn’t have any terrible contracts, but it’s a little easier to go with Malcolm Brogdon. Durability is the key. After appearing in 75 games as a rookie, Brogdon has averaged just 51.6 games per season since then,” Bailey reasoned in his September 24 article.
Still, when healthy, there’s no denying that Brogdon is a special talent, capable of being a lead ball-handler, or operating as an off-ball scorer, all while being an exceptional playmaker and reasonable defender. If the six-foot-five guard can remain healthy this season, he will give the Celtics bench a significant boost in both scoring and shot creation – two things the bench unit was missing throughout the Celtics’ deep playoff run.
Brogdon Expected to be Boston’s Sixth Man
Shortly after the Celtics acquired Brogdon via trade, the Georgia native appeared on an episode of Adrian Wojnarowski’s ‘Woj Pod’ and discussed how he’s willing to embrace a role as Boston’s sixth man in the upcoming season.
“Brad did have a conversation with my agent and talked about me coming to Boston and embracing a sixth man role. And for me, I’ve made a lot of money, I’ve won a lot in Milwaukee, I’ve won some in Indiana. But I really want to get back to winning at a high level, I wanna win a championship. So whatever I can sacrifice, to get back to that championship level, I’m willing to do it and compete,” Brogdon detailed, noting how his discussions with President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens helped convinced him to embrace a new role.
With Brogdon expecting to come off the bench next season, it’s clear that the Celtics are set to continue with Marcus Smart as their lead point-guard, and given his production of 12.1 points, 5.9 assists, and 3.8 rebounds last season, along with his winning Defensive Player of the Year honors, you can understand why the Celtics wish to keep him as the starting guard.
Brogdon’s Injury History Remains a Concern
The primary reason why Bailey believes Brogdon’s contract is the worst on Boston’s current roster is due to his inability to stay healthy – and that is also why the Celtics likely view Brogdon as a bench player rather than a starter.
On July 11, a rival general manager spoke to Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett, under the condition of anonymity, and helped shed some light on how Brogdon’s injury history is viewed by some front offices around the NBA.
“The knock against him coming out of college is that he had terrible knees. I mean, some of the examinations were really suspect in terms of how long his lower body would be able to take NBA pounding. So that’s why he ended up going in the second round because he was damn near red-flagged. So the fact of the matter is he’s probably better off coming off the bench with limited minutes, trying to be impactful in 18 rather than trying to play 30 and always being injured,” The GM told Bulpett.
Still, if Brogdon can remain healthy, and embrace his new role on a Celtics roster that is capable of contending for a championship this season, then his addition could prove to be an X-Factor for a team that came within two games of winning the NBA Finals last season before falling at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.