Until the Game 6 loss to the Toronto Raptors, the entire world got a good glance at an under-appreciated player that can impact the game in every way possible.
This 6’5’’ combo guard was last seen using his size to bully smaller guards on his way to finishing at the rim. When he wasn’t doing that that, he was drilling 37.8% of his threes—after a regular season in which he shot 42.8% from the outside—and making the right reads on his way to averaging 3.4 assists per game to only 1.4 turnovers per game over his seven games in this year’s playoffs.
And how about his defense? Well, he’s consistently been one of the better perimeter defenders in the game since entering the league. That was fully on display as he was one of Milwaukee’s only players that was truly able to meet Kawhi Leonard with any resistance.
Yeah, it’s safe to say that Malcolm Brogdon is a guy that could make any team in the league better. And luckily for all of the franchises that are armed with cap space this summer, Brogdon happens to be a restricted free agent this offseason.
While the 26-year-old will command a pretty hefty salary in order for the Bucks to even consider letting him walk, a safe assumption can be made that he’ll get plenty of offer sheets that he and his agent will be plenty happy with. After all, Brogdon finished this season inside the top 50 in win shares and 39th in offensive box plus/minus. There isn’t a situation in basketball where he would be a negative on the floor.
It should be noted that Milwaukee will try to bring its two-way stud back home. The Bucks were the best team in basketball during the regular season, so running it back after a disappointing postseason exit is something they’ll definitely take a hard look at.
But with Khris Middleton, Nikola Mirotic and Brook Lopez also heading towards free agency, there’s a world in which the Bucks can’t afford to bring back everybody. Giannis Antetokounmpo will soon be eligible for the supermax and Milwaukee might not be willing to spend boatloads of money in luxury taxes.
With that being said, here’s a list of five teams that should be interested in acquiring Brogdon’s services.
5. Dallas Mavericks
With Malcolm Brogdon’s ability to play both on and off the ball, he’s the perfect fit for a team with a ball-dominant wing. And with likely Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic being exactly that, there aren’t many players that are better suited to slide into Dallas’ lineup.
With Doncic running the show, Brogdon’s ability to hit outside jumpers would be a welcome addition to Rick Carlisle’s offense. His mere presence on the floor would also give Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis some much-needed room to operate in pick-and-roll situations.
Another thing Brogdon would be able to do is help keep Doncic fresh late in games. Last year, Doncic was asked to do everything for the Mavericks. With Brogdon operating as another ball handler, Doncic would be able to spend some more time off the ball. That could make a huge difference.
And then there’s also Brogdon’s ability to defend.
On a team that will be asking Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.—two guys that nobody is afraid of attacking in isolation—to defend the perimeter, an effective defender like Brogdon would be a welcome addition.
4. Phoenix Suns
Much like Luka Doncic, Devin Booker is a wing that initiates a lot of his team’s offense. There’s a little James Harden to Booker in the sense that you can roll the ball out to him and expect good things to happen.
In addition to the 22-year-old averaging 26.6 points per game last season, he also recorded 6.8 assists per game.
But Phoenix didn’t have anybody at the point guard position last year, and new head coach Monty Williams knows that he needs to ease the burden on Booker next season. Malcolm Brogdon could be the perfect guy for that.
Not only would Brogdon not get in the way of Booker offensively, but he’d also allow Deandre Ayton to work his magic inside the paint. Defenses wouldn’t be able to collapse on Ayton without the risk of leaving Brogdon, Booker or even Mikal Bridges open.
And speaking of Bridges, Phoenix’s once porous defense could climb the defensive efficiency ranks with Brogdon and Bridges defending the perimeter.
3. Indiana Pacers
Indiana’s emphasis on acquiring selfless players that actually take pride in competing on both ends has paid dividends in recent years.
Many expected the Pacers to completely fall off after trading Paul George to the Thunder, but they have done the exact opposite. The Pacers have made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and a case can be made that they are on the brink of breaking through in the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps upgrading from Darren Collison to Malcolm Brogdon is the move that helps get them over the hump. Fans might be clamoring for more of a scorer—like Kemba Walker—but Brogdon would fit perfectly next to Victor Oladipo.
Collison knows how to jump passing lanes and rack up steals, but he isn’t nearly the all-around defender that Brogdon is. And while Collison is a decent spot-up shooter, Brogdon has a bit more versatility on the offensive end.
He and Oladipo could really be a nightmare for opposing teams night in and night out.
2. Orlando Magic
The Magic shocked the world by sneaking their way into the postseason this year. All Orlando did in the previous offseason was bring in head coach Steve Clifford and that, combined with better luck in the health department, helped a young team take a giant leap forward.
However, much like the Suns, the Magic really didn’t have much at point a year ago.
Veteran D.J. Augustin manned the position for Orlando, and that is a spot that the team knows it needs to improve. Augustin is a good player, but he would be far better suited in a bench role.
The Magic did do something to address the spot at the trade deadline, as they ended up being the team to take a flier on former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz.
But with Fultz still a gigantic question mark, bringing in a sure thing like Malcolm Brogdon wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
1. Utah Jazz
Ricky Rubio does a lot of things well on the basketball court, but shooting just isn’t one of them. And Rubio might be a solid defender, but Malcolm Brogdon would represent an upgrade on that end as well.
This might not be the splashy signing that Jazz fans might feel they need, but it could be the one that helps put them into the top tier in a Western Conference that could lose Kevin Durant this summer.
The Jazz have a clear need for scoring, but Brogdon can make things easier for them in a number of ways. He wouldn’t have the same lob chemistry that Rubio has with star Rudy Gobert, but he is capable of running the offense.
But more importantly, being able to take the toughest wing assignment defensively would help Donovan Mitchell immensely. Mitchell is clearly the go-to guy for the Jazz offensively, but he was often exhausted late in games.
Brogdon’s presence could help make sure that changes.