*Rookie of the Year
When Malcolm Brogdon won Rookie of the Year, during the 2016-17 campaign, some might put an asterisk beside it. It was a terrible draft year, and he was the least terrible freshman that season.
Brogdon, a second-round pick, was considered a steal. But more of a shoplifting steal as opposed to armed robbery. He was a minor success in a major disappointing rookie class (some of the 2016 draftees have improved in subsequent seasons).
Then somehow Brogdon became amazing.
This season, Malcolm Brogdon has been one of the most efficient guards in the NBA. BETTER YET, MAYBE THE MOST EFFICIENT GUARD IN THE NBA. With a .505/.426/.928 slash line this season, Brogdon is quietly having a historically efficient season as a shooter. At the moment, he is among the greatest shooting names of all time like Stephen Curry and Steve Nash. According to basketballreference.com, Brogdon also has an offensive rating of 120.8 which is #19 in the NBA and the highest on the Bucks.
With the recent news that Brogdon will be missing the next 6 – 8 weeks due to injury, the Milwaukee Bucks are officially vulnerable in the playoffs.
In an Eastern Conference that is largely considered 4-deep from a contender standpoint, many of those second-round matchups are expected to be absolute dogfights. If you were playing in an intense game, would you be happy knowing that perhaps the best shooter in the NBA this season would be watching from the sidelines? Brogdon is also the NBA’s league leader in free throw percentage. In playoff games often decided by three points or less, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that key free throws could be executed effortlessly by the best shooter from the stripe in the NBA?
Weak Bucks Guard Depth
The Bucks will have to replace Brogdon with possibly 32-year old George Hill? Tony Snell? Donte DiVincenzo? For the Bucks, who have largely played with a cohesive starting unit all season, their chemistry could be greatly affected. On Sunday night, without Brogdon in the starting five, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 52 points and the Bucks still lost. Not a great sign for a team that has to be concerned about roster depth now.
As a Raptors fan, the playoffs just got infinitely more interesting.
Eastern Conference Contender Status
Unfortunately, the Bucks have lost Brogdon until possibly the second or third round of the playoffs. As for the Raptors, they got last year’s Sixth Man of the Year finalist Fred VanVleet back from injury. He promptly scored 17 points off the bench in his first game back. Boston is finally playing like a cohesive unit, and Philadelphia has won 4 in a row. Due to all of these factors, it is the worst possible time for Milwaukee’s depth to be compromised.
As the Raptors manage minutes for Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry down the stretch, the 76ers finally getting Joel Embiid back, and the Boston Celtics starting to look like, well, the Boston Celtics, the top five seeds in the East are up for grabs (with the overachieving Indiana Pacers starting to fade, but still in the mix).
Get ready for the tightest Eastern Conference playoff race in a decade, basketball fans. This one is gonna be bloody.
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