What can Malcolm Brogdon bring to Celtics? Get to know C's sixth man

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Can Malcolm Brogdon be the Boston Celtics' "missing piece"?

It's much too early to tell whether Brogdon will have that kind of impact in Boston after joining the Celtics via trade from the Indiana Pacers in July. But the 29-year-old guard is certainly set up for success.

"I think what I bring to the team, this is something that the team is missing in some ways," Brogdon recently told our Chris Forsberg. "I think my versatility will show. I think it will shine."

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What exactly can Brogdon bring to a team that was two wins away from an NBA championship last season? Here's everything you need to know about the seventh-year guard.

He can beat you in multiple ways

Brogdon isn't the strongest or fastest player, but he's very well-rounded. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound guard is a career 46.4 percent shooter with a strong mid-range game who can also get to the basket: He averaged 4.6 free throw attempts per game last season, a career high.

While Brogdon is coming off the worst 3-point shooting season of his career (31.2 percent), he has topped 40 percent from beyond the arc in two separate seasons. He's a strong free throw shooter as well and hit an NBA-best 92.8 percent of his free throws in 2018-19.

Brogdon's versatility on both ends should be a great asset for a Celtics team stocked with players who excel in multiple areas.

He knows how to run an offense

Brogdon has been a polished floor general from Day 1. He earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 2016-17 with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 4.2 assists and just 1.5 turnovers per game for a team that ranked fifth in the NBA in assist percentage (62.4 percent).

After three seasons with the Bucks, Brogdon became an even better facilitator in Indiana, dishing out a career-high 7.1 assists in 2019-20 and averaging 5.9 dimes per game in each of the last two seasons.

Brogdon should thrive in a playmaking role with Boston, which has much more overall talent than Indiana. Case in point: Brogdon has 18 assists through two preseason games.

He's not starting ... but he may finish

Brogdon has insisted he's OK coming off the bench in Boston despite starting every game he's played over the past four seasons. That's good news, because his best role is as a sixth man.

The Celtics were the best team in basketball down the stretch last season with Marcus Smart running point, so they shouldn't mess with success. Brogdon also should add an extra playmaking dimension to the second unit that Boston lacked last season with Derrick White and Payton Pritchard.

Don't be surprised to see Brogdon on the floor in crunch time, though. The Celtics' Achilles heel in the postseason was ball security, and they often struggled with offensive execution late in games. Brogdon could be the perfect remedy for that issue, as he has a knack for making the smart play in big situations.

Smart has experience as an off-ball guard, so the Celtics could feature a Brogdon-Smart backcourt in the closing minutes of games.

Injuries remain his biggest red flag

How were the Celtics able to acquire a starting-caliber guard without giving up any rotation players? The answer: Brogdon's injury history.

Brogdon played in just 36 games last season and has missed at least 16 games in four of his six NBA campaigns. Here's a rundown of the 29-year-old's most notable injuries:

  • 2021-22 season: Achilles injury (41 games missed)
  • 2020-21 season: Knee, back, hip and hamstring injuries (16 games missed)
  • 2019-20 season: Back, groin, hamstring injuries; concussion (19 games missed)
  • 2018-19 season: Plantar fascia tear in right foot (18 games missed)
  • 2017-18 season: Torn left quad (34 games missed)

Brogdon's struggle to remain healthy is a big reason why he's on his third team in seven NBA seasons. The Celtics have strong backcourt depth with Smart, White and Pritchard, so they should try to manage Brogdon's minutes to make sure he's available for the postseason.

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