While most of the attention on the Lakers this draft season stem from them holding the #2 overall pick, the team also holds the #32 selection in the upcoming draft. With that, we will be having a series of posts on potential options for that selection. This installment looks at the senior guard out of Virginia, Malcolm Brogdon.
Shooting Guard, 6’5.5?, 223 lbs. Senior, Virginia, 23 years old
34.1 minutes, 18.2 points, 45.7 field goal percentage, 89.7 free throw percentage, 3.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks.
Big Board Rankings:
Draft Express – 42, CBS (Sam Vecenie) – 26, CBS (Doug Gottlieb) — 33, Sports Illustrated – 34, NBA.com — 21, ESPN (Chad Ford) — 38
Over the last few years, the NBA has seen a change in the way the game is played. Players who can defend multiple positions have never been more valuable. One of the best defensive players in the draft who should be able to guard at least three positions in the pros is Malcolm Brogdon out of the University of Virginia. The senior was able to guard all but the centers in his college career at just 6’5.5, but his 6’10 wingspan and strong frame allows him to guard guys much bigger than him. Brogdon’s defense was so good that he was honored with ACC Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row (he also won ACC Player of the Year).
While the fifth-year senior was a monster on the defensive side of the ball, he also wasn’t a slouch on the other end. He posted a career-high 18 points on 45.7 percent from the field, but also hit 39.1 percent from three on a little over five attempts per game. According to DraftExpress, Brogdon scored 1.21 PPP on catch-and-shoot possessions. He also shot 46% when coming off of screens, which put him near the top in the country. His field goal percentage and three-point percentage made big jumps, and he was even hitting almost 90 percent of his free throws.
While his shooting numbers continued to increase, his assists went up as well. Broaden had the ball in his hands a lot more in his senior season, and he was able to put up more assists, but more impressively, his turnovers went down. His junior year he averaged 1.7 turnovers with a turnover percentage of 11.7. His last year in college those numbers went down to 1.4 and 8.3 percent. His ability to limit his mistakes and move the ball shows his IQ.
The most important thing we know about Brogdon is his age. Shortly after the next NBA season begins, he will turn 24 — the same age as Kyrie Irving, Khris Middleton, Derrick Favors, and Kawhi Leonard. He was at Virginia for five years, so his upside potential would seem to be limited.
Another key factor is Brogan’s athleticism. He’s put up a 35” vertical at the combine, but he’s not going to blow past guys in the NBA, and this means he’s really going to have to rely on his body for defense. What might be the most surprising about his defense is his lack of steals. For as good of a defender as he is, he averaged less than one steal a game for his career.
Since he’s not a great athlete and he doesn’t have a great handle, The 23-year-old is going to struggle to create for himself at the next level. Per DX, his PPP on pull-ups was 0.76 which isn’t what you want from your lead guard. Although his shooting percentage at the rim went up in his senior year, he’s going to have to rely on cutting off the ball a lot more for his next team since it will be harder for him to get past his defender with his average ball-handling and athleticism. There are also some worries that his shot will extend out to the NBA three-point line.
Where he fits in with the Lakers:
The Lakers badly need some perimeter defense, and while Malcolm Brogdon is going to be 24 shortly after the next NBA season begins, he could still very much help the team. The Lakers have shown a willingness to draft older guys in the second round (see: Anthony Brown and Jordan Clarkson), but Brogdon is would be older than a good amount of the team in his rookie year.
If Brogdon is able to do even a little of what he did in his time at Virginia, he could become a solid 3-and-D player for the Lakers. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, as shown by his catch-and-shoot numbers, and he can come in and guard NBA players because of his length and strength. Some might question why the Lakers would pick a wing, especially if they end up with Brandon Ingram. The Lakers need depth and talent. A backcourt of Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Malcolm Brogdon could provide versatility for the future that the Lakers badly need. His defense, potential outside shot, passing, and overall IQ for the game would be welcome in the locker room and on the court with Luke Walton at the helm.