Malcolm Brogdon has all but confirmed what his role will be with the Boston Celtics – and it will not be as a starter.
Brogdon sat down with Rich Shertenlieb and Jon Wallach of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich at the team’s media day on Monday in Canton, and shed light on how he ended up traded to the Celtics. He explained that Celtics President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens was up front with him about how he envisioned his role on the team, and that would be the first player off the bench. The team’s “Sixth Man of the Year” candidate. Brogdon has clearly embraced it.
“When they brought me here, when Brad [Stevens] was on the phone with the Pacers, with my agent, he was incredibly honest,” Brogdon told T&R. “One of the first things was, ‘We have a group here, we have a core here, that we don’t want to disrupt the chemistry. We think you’re the perfect fit for what we need, your skill set, to help get us over the hump. But you’re gonna play a sixth man role. You’re gonna play a supporting role. It’s up to you if we’re really gonna pursue this’ – because there were other team pursuing me as well.
“But it was up to me to really choose Boston.”
Sep 26, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon (13) during Celtics Media Day. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
The veteran point guard’s reasoning is sound: he’s a guy who is at the stage of his career that he wants a championship ring. So he’s sacrificing what ostensibly could’ve been a starting role on a lesser team, for that opportunity.
“I chose Boston in a heartbeat, because I told myself, ‘I want to win,'” Brogdon continued. “I’ve been in Milwaukee, where we won at a high level. I’ve been in Indiana where we’ve had good years, we’ve had bad years, and I want to get back to that level of championship level, competing for something really, really special.
“That’s what this team has been doing, that’s what this team is on the cusp of, and I want to help them get back there, anything to do better, reach that ultimate goal. If that means coming off the bench, I don’t have a problem with that.
“I’ve made my money. I’ve accomplished good things in this league. I really just want to win, and however I can do that on a really good team with really good guys, I’m gonna do that.”
It’s a refreshingly selfless stance for Brogdon to take, as compared to any other player in the NBA, let alone his teammates. But it was reasonable to wonder if Brogdon and incumbent starter Marcus Smart would potentially clash, if roles and minutes were less defined and more of a competition. But Brogdon is essentially ceding to Smart as the lead guy. He certainly sounds happy to do so after having to play against him several times over his career.
“Marcus is one of those guys, he’s so tough, he’s so gritty on the court, he’s such a high-I.Q. player – he’s a winner,” Brogdon said. “Marcus is one of the ultimate winners in the league, I think that’s what you’ve got to respect about him. He’s tough to play against. He’ll guard anybody. He’ll make big shots. He’s fearless and smart.”
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 28: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot against Malcolm Brogdon #13 of the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Seven of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 28, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Bucks 112-96. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The sixth-man role is uncharted territory for Brogdon, who has started all 210 of his games played over the past four seasons between the Bucks and Pacers. But that number belies the fact that Brogdon has missed an average of 29.5 games over that same span, mainly due to various injuries. So, the hope in Boston is that reduced minutes and a well-defined complementary role will allow Brogdon to both stay healthy and play his best basketball.
As of Wednesday, Brogdon has the fourth-best odds (+1200) to win the Sixth Man of the Year award at DraftKings Sportsbook. Maybe that’s worth looking at if you’re the gambling type.
Brogdon spoke about a variety of topics over the course of the interview, going back to his days as a schoolkid and young NBA prospect. The whole thing is worth a listen in the above podcast. Click here for complete Boston Celtics coverage here at 985TheSportsHub.com.
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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.