How the Celtics reportedly plan to use Malcolm Brogdon

Boston's trade for the combo guard left people wondering if he would become the team's starting point guard.

Malcolm Brogdon won't be initiating the Celtics' offense, at least in a starting role. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The Celtics’ reported trade for Malcolm Brogdon helped them answer a pair of their biggest needs entering the offseason. However, it created a big question.

Brogdon’s started every game at point guard since the Pacers acquired him in 2019, leaving Friday’s trade to wonder if the Celtics would use him in the same role, replacing Marcus Smart, or if they have something else in mind for him.

It appears Smart will still start at point guard for the Celtics. Boston views Brogdon coming as a sixth man, The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy reported.

Smart’s role as the Celtics’ starting point guard came into question by several analysts following the NBA Finals, in which Boston failed to score 100 points in each of the last three games. Smart, who didn’t become the team’s full-time starting point guard until this past season, responded to those who doubt he’s effective enough to be the team’s starting point guard in an interview with The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.


“I think I proved a little bit everything,” Smart told Himmelsbach on Tuesday. “I hear the talks about ‘He’s not a true point guard’ and this and that. ‘They need a star point guard.’

“We’ve had star point guards, and yet this so-called non-point guard is the only one that’s led them to the Finals. I think that right there says enough. I don’t really need to say too much more. I think everybody sees and understands, finally, the person I really am, and what I can do given the opportunity.”

As Smart still holds his spot as the team’s starting point guard, it appears Brogdon is aware of the role he will play once he arrives in Boston.

“I’m looking to win a championship, that’s actually it,” Brogdon told The Athletic’s Jared Weiss on Friday. “In the past, I’ve worried about stats and numbers and all that. I’m going to Boston and not worrying about [stats].”

However, Brogdon mentioned that he can help the Celtics as a playmaker in his interview with Weiss.


“If I came in there, I could give them a steady presence and a calm as a ballhandler and facilitator, getting guys like [Jaylen] Brown and [Jayson] Tatum easy shots,” Brogdon said. “Just slowing the game down in those moments when we need to get a good shot.”

Brogdon brings the veteran playmaking and shooting Celtics president Brad Stevens and head coach Ime Udoka said they were looking for entering the offseason. He averaged 18.9 points and 6.3 assists in 146 games with the Pacers over three seasons as the team’s starting point guard.

Brogdon didn’t shoot as well in Indiana, where he was the main initiator for the first time in his career, than he did in Milwaukee. Brogdon shot 48.4 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range in his three seasons with the Bucks, joining the illustrious 50/40/90 club in his final season there. With the Pacers, Brogdon shot 44.7 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from 3-point range. Boston could hope to see Brogdon’s shooting percentages go up as he could play a similar off-ball role with the Celtics as he did with the Bucks.

The Celtics’ reported decision to have Brogdon come off the bench means they will keep their starting five together, which was arguably the best in the NBA last season. Boston’s lineup of Smart, Brown, Tatum, Al Horford, and Robert Williams had a 24.6 net rating, which is the best net rating of all starting lineups that played at least 20 games together. That group didn’t have as high of a net rating in the playoffs, posting a 3.5 net rating as Williams, Horford, and Smart each missed time throughout the postseason.


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