By the title of this article, one might think I am going to talk about Domantas Sabonis. The son of not your Vydas or my Vydas, but rather Arvydas has been balling out this season and has received the majority of the credit for the early success of this Indiana Pacers team. But this is Junk Drawer, where I dig through to find the hidden storylines that have been cast aside like yesterday’s garbage. The real most improved Pacer this season has been young Malcolm Brogdon.
Part of what has made Brogdon so efficient throughout his career has been his role on his teams. Brogdon benefitted in Milwaukee because Middleton and Giannis received so much attention from opposing defenses. A season ago his efficiency dipped as Victor Oladipo got hurt. This season most of the opposing defense’s attention has been on Oladipo and Sabonis which has helped Brogdon thrive against teams’ secondary defenders. Brogdon is shooting 49% from the field, 46% from deep, and 90% from the foul line this season. Going forward his role could change though. Teams will soon realize Brogdon is leading the team in scoring this season and will focus more attention on him. Brogdon might be ready for that though.
Brogdon’s shot selection this season is different than it has been in the past. This season Brodon is calling his own shot more, shooting 17 times a game compared to 13 last season, and is shooting more threes at almost 7 attempts a game this season up from 4. This uptick in production however stems mainly from his two-man game with Sabonis. Brogdon very rarely shoots the ball with his primary defender on him. This comes from the pick and roll game he plays with Sabonis who has been one of the league’s smartest and best screen setters so far this season. When opponents don’t switch during this action is almost always ends in a pocket pass to Sabonis for the finish. Often time the opponents switch this action and Brogdon has gotten a lot better this season at recognizing those switches and attacking them. Brogdon also has developed a good sense of awareness of where his original defender is after the screen, oftentimes putting the defender on his back and keeping him out of the action. Mix in all of these options and Brogdon has been a swiss army knife of efficient scoring and playmaking on the offensive end that would help all fantasy teams.
Brogdon has been a good NBA defender and a great fantasy defender this season. Brogdon doesn’t take many plays off defensively and has had good positioning and awareness throughout his career. This season so far, his steals have skyrocketed to new heights at 1.7 a game. This also is thanks to Oladipo being back on the team. Oladipo is an All NBA Defensive team level player and wreaks havoc on opposing teams’ primary ball handlers. This leaves Brogdon on lesser offensive players but also lets him use his awareness to jump passing lanes which he has done so more frequently this season. Brogdon also plays a lot of minutes, 37 a game this season which helps him in all counting stats including steals.
Because of the incredible efficiency and high volume of scoring and assists. Brogdon has been a top 10 fantasy performer this season. Better than similar counterparts like Jamal Murray or even Donovan Mitchell. I would look to target Brogdon in a trade as I think the efficiency is real and Brogdon will continue this level of play throughout the season even as more attention is focused on him by opposing defenses.