BOSTON — It’s early. Really very early. But with two games not counting, Malcolm Brogdon looks like the perfect match for the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics were desperate for both production and playmaking off the bench, and Brad Stevens has found the ideal player to meet both needs. Brogdon’s ability to get things done was at the forefront of his game during two exhibition games.
After dishing out nine assists in Sunday’s blowout win over Charlotte in Boston’s preseason opener, Brogdon followed it up on Wednesday night by handing out nine more assists in 23 minutes of the C’s overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The cunning reserve watch gets it done in a number of ways. He gets to the edge with ease and has the vision to find anyone open on the grand piano. Sam Hauser had the hot hand on Wednesday night, and a lot of it had to do with Brogdon finding the sniper when it was open. Brogdon assisted on four of Hauser’s five triples on Wednesday night, including one at the end of the first quarter:
That kind of vision is huge for a team suddenly filled with three-point threats. And if Brogdon and Hauser — two former UVA lads — can bring such a connection to Boston’s second unit, the Celtics will still be a dangerous team if Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown sit on the bench.
Freshman head coach Joe Mazzulla even entrusted the offense to Brogdon for a few minutes as Tatum and Brown BOTH sat on the bench to start the second quarter. Boston’s lead went from seven to twelve before Tatum checked in again, thanks to Brogdon’s creativity. After tossing a few freebies to start the quarter, Brogdon found Grant Williams underneath for an easy deuce, then chased Hauser for another three, fingerprinting all over Boston’s 7-0 run to start the frame. .
And then there were his selfless finds like this one, as Brogdon dished out the Tatum during the quick break for an entertaining two points:
He could have had two easy runs — which would make his 1-for-6 shooting line look a little better — but he’s a giver. And he is willing to give to anyone who is open.
It seems like it doesn’t matter who Brogdon plays with; the Celtics will bounce a lot and have a lot of energy on offense when he’s on the floor. He is the anti-Schroder who starts the Boston attack and sets it in motion as soon as he hits the ball.
Brogdon should be a perfect fit as the super bank producer Stevens pranked him when he picked him up (and his big price tag) from the Pacers in July. He’s taken energy and creativity off the bench, and that was in two pre-season games. Imagine the goals Brogdon will help create when the games start to count, not to mention the havoc he and Marcus Smart can wreak on opponents from the backcourt.
Yes, it’s early. Very early. And it would be fair to point out that at one point in early 2020, the Celtics were excited about the untimely return of one Jeff Teague.
But Brogdon is a very different beast. He can score. He can wash up. And he can get anyone on the attack.
That’s exactly what the Celtics needed when they came up two wins short of a title last season. Now they have it all in Brogdon.