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Malcolm Brogdon – 6″5 Point Guard/Shooting Guard, University of Virginia, 23 Years Old.
After redshirting for a year at Virginia, Malcolm Brogdon is one of the oldest players in this draft. A fantastic collegiate career saw him win Second Team All-American, All-ACC First Team and co-ACC Defensive Player of the year in 2015. In 2016 he was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, First Team All-American, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All-ACC First Team. He represented his country at the Pan-American games in 2015 and led Virginia to the Regular Season ACC Champions in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016. In 2014 he paved the way for the Cavaliers to win the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1978, and brought them back to the Championships this past season in 2016. During the National Championship Tournament Brogdon spearheaded the Elite Eight run in 2016, the best Tournament run the team has had since their Final Four appearance in 1984. Brogdon has been one of the best collegiate players in recent years and his jersey will likely hang on the rafters of John Paul Jones Arena one day.
Listed at 6″5 and 223 lbs, Brogdon is a man. He is tremendously strong, guarding point guards through power forwards while in college. Aided by his 6”10 wingspan, the captain of the Cavaliers is a tremendous defender, locking down the opponent’s best perimeter player night in and night out. Not the quickest player, Brogdon uses his enormous upper body strength to push opponents off their spot, forcing them away from the basket. While not an explosive leaper, his long arms contest every shot. He makes up for any physical limitations he may have defensively with the aforementioned strength, length and a motor that never stops running. Always in a defensive stance, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is phenomenal off ball, anticipating passing lanes and dribble drives to disrupt an offence.
His greatest strength is his maturity. He is clever with the basketball in his hands, running the pick and roll effectively (although the Cavaliers do not run many P&R sets), resulting in a 4 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. When driving, he is a good passer and does have some flare (19.5 Assist percentage), but his handle is very simple and mainly bullies his way to the rim through his defender rather that past him. Although he has incorporated a number of very nice step-backs into his game using his body to create separation from his defender. He is a crafty finisher, and because he is not a great leaper has utilized the floater with either hand to great effect (47% on all floaters last year).
Not to be lost off the ball either, Brogdon shot almost 40% from behind the arc this seasons. His shot is somewhat flat, but with his feet set and enough time to let fly, he is knock down. Shooting 89% from the freethrow line shows the kind of stroke he has. Brogdon scored 20 points a game in conference play, and you don’t do that without having considerable ability. He used off ball screens to generate his offence more than anyone else in the league (28% of his possessions) and scored 1.21 points per possession in that category. A smart cutter, he finds seams within the defence for easy scores (1.24 PPP). His pump fake is something to be admired, using the threat of his jumper to get guys in the air and get to the rim.
Brogdon has conducted himself like a true professional over the past several years, and any team that drafts him will already have a “veteran” rookie on their hands.
Brogdon’s greatest strength is his ability to play simple, mistake free basketball, and that is also his greatest weakness. The ceiling for this guy is not very high, and at best he will be a solid role player. It is unlikely he will ever be an All-Star, and at 23 years old, what you see is what you get. He is not a great leaper or explosive athlete, and while he can guard multiple positions, extremely quick guards can blow past him. He shows the effort and hustle to stay in front of his man and tries to recover as much as he can, but at the NBA level can he defend quick point guards? That remains to be seen, but it is a question mark. He will be drafted because of his defensive ability (and it is considerable) more so that his shot making prowess. He dominated college because he was the biggest, strongest and hardest working player on the court. He will still most likely be the hardest working but can he really bully his way past a guy like Kawhi Leonard? Can he stop the freight train that is Lebron James? That remains to be seen. Brogdon struggles at times against elite length and shot blocking, something which the NBA has plenty of. Anything is possible, but it defies logic to see him as a 20 point scorer at the next level.
DraftExpress has Brogdon listed to go 40th overall in this year’s draft, which means that if this is true, he will fall to Sacramento. While he offers little upside, Brogdon has won at every level so far, and his maturity in the locker room could help a team like the Sacramento Kings, or another young team needing to add defence and maturity at the guard position. The Milwaukee Bucks, always looking for defenders and size are in need of someone who can shoot, and Brogdon brings some floor spacing. In all honesty Brogdon would fit well in any situation he finds himself in, he is just that kind of player, that kind of man. Whether he plays 40 minutes a night or none, he can give you something and will be ready. For this reason, if I were a general manager with a mid to late second round pick I would draft him, but do not be surprised if he slips and his name isn’t called at all. If that is the case then expect teams to be jumping at the opportunity to see Brogdon play for their Summer League squad.