Tomorrow (6/26/2017) the 2017 NBA awards are going to be distributed. While the main focus is going to be on the MVP award where Leonard, Harden, and Westbrook all put up impressive season, the rookie of the year award hits closer to home. The Bucks 2nd round pick Malcom Brogdon enjoyed a breakout rookie season as he played 26.4 minutes per game while scoring 10.2 points per game, 4.2 assists per game, and 1.1 steals per game. The former Virginia Cavalier was rewarded by being a starter in the post-season playing 30.5 minutes per game in the Bucks series against the Raptors. How does Brogdon compare to the other two nominees, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric?
Embiid was drafted 3rd overall by Philadelphia. He arguably had the best stats for the time he was on the court. The problem is that he only played 31 games. In that time, he averaged 20 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. Then there is Saric. He was drafted by Orlando but traded to Philadelphia. He was the most durable playing 81 games averaging 26.3 minutes per game and 6.3 rebound per game.
From the heat maps, it can be seen that Embiid was very efficient. Had he played a full season he most likely would’ve regressed. Brogdon was really good when shooting from the corners but didn’t attempt too many shots from there. Between Saric and Brogdon, Brogdon had the better field goal percentage by nearly 5%. In addition, Brogdon’s defense is better by posting a defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) than the other two players. In fact, Brogdon is 17th best in the NBA.
Brogdon is deserving of the ROY award. The Bucks used him off the bench and as a starter. He was versatile and a smart player. What is encouraging is that Brogdon has the opportunity to get even better. He was durable and can be relied on as both a good defender and offensive player. All this while not being a first round pick, but a second round pick.