Celtics player spotlight: How does Malcolm Brogdon fit in with Boston? – NBC Sports Boston | Hot Mobile Press

Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics wasted no time addressing an issue this offseason.

On July 1, the C’s point guard acquired Malcolm Brogdon in a trade with the Indiana Pacers. They sent five players and their 2023 first-round draft pick to Indiana to bolster their backcourt depth.

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Brogdon is expected to take on the role of sixth man, while Marcus Smart remains the team’s full-time starting point guard. Derrick White and Payton Pritchard also remain off the bench on the depth chart as point guard options.

It will be an adjustment for Brogdon, who has started every game he has played in since the 2018-19 season. The 29-year-old says he will take on the new role, but whether or not he and Smart can coexist is a hot topic ahead of his first season with Boston. And that’s not the only question mark surrounding the Brogdon acquisition.

We continue our Celtics Player Spotlight series by looking back at Brogdon’s successes with the Pacers last season and how he can make Boston a title contender again in 2022-23.

Brogdon’s stats 2021-22

  • Regular Season: 19.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 44.8 percent FG, 31.2 percent 3PT (36 games with IND)
  • Postseason: N / A

Brogdon’s contract situation

Brogdon is expected to earn $22.6 million in 2022-23 after signing a four-year, $85 million contract extension with the Indiana Pacers last October. He is under contract with Boston until the 2024/25 season.

What role will Brogdon play in the 2022-23 Celtics?

For now, the plan is for Brogdon to come off the bench while Smart remains the starting point guard.

We can expect the Celtics to play this situation by ear as the season progresses. If Smart struggles to repeat his 2021-22 success, head coach Ime Udoka could be tempted to bring Brogdon – the better attacking player – into the starting line-up.

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Even as a sixth man, Brogdon should get his fair share of minutes. He will play a significant role in what the Celtics aim to achieve offensively. If they need buckets in crunch time, Udoka will likely roll over Smart with Brogdon as the primary ball handler. If they try to stay on top, they’ll likely roll with the 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year.

Brogdon’s season will be a success if…

… He takes on the role of the sixth man.

Brogdon, coming off the bench, may be best for everyone involved. He’s struggled to stay healthy for most of his NBA career, so it makes sense to cap his minutes so he can stay on the court all season, which he’s been doing since his rookie-of-the-year campaign has not achieved more.

Getting Brogdon and Smart to complement each other will be key to Boston’s success. Things could quickly go sideways if one of the point guards struggles with their playing time. Luckily for the Celtics, both players appear to be approaching their first year as teammates with an open mind.

Biggest obstacle to Brogdon’s success

Stay healthy.

Brogdon was unable to stay on the pitch for five of his six seasons in the league. He only played 36 games for the Pacers last season due to Achilles tendon and hamstring injuries. He hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since 2018/19 when he played 64.

In his two seasons of more than 60 games played, Brogdon averaged under 30 minutes a game. That no doubt contributed to the Celtics’ decision to take him off the bench.

Expected stats and predictions for Brogdon’s 2022-23 season

Estimated Statistics: 16.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.1 apg, 0.7 spg, 44.5 percent FG, 37 percent 3PT (60 games)

Assuming Brogdon’s minutes get a hit with Smart as a starter, so will his numbers. But that doesn’t mean Brogdon won’t make a huge impression in his first season with the Celtics. In fact, he might be even more efficient than he was as a starting point guard for Indiana and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Expect Brogdon to provide a significant spark off the bench and when deputizing for Smart on the starting lineup. He makes the difference offensively, which the Celtics’ second unit desperately needed during their 2022 playoff run. Fans expect Brogdon to be the missing piece of the puzzle, and it’s not hard to see why.

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