Malcolm Brogdon has altered Tatum and Brown’s production

November 3, 2022

It became apparent while watching the 2022 NBA Finals that the Celtics would gain from having a second-floor general. Their 2 best players, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown weren’t particularly good at coming up with the team’s offensive plays.


Despite being among the NBA’s best finishers, they didn’t seem to have a natural talent for creating for teammates off the bounce, something the Warriors took advantage of. Tatum and Brown, who had averaged 7.9 assists and 5.6 turnovers during the regular season, increased those numbers to 9.7 assists and 7.3 turnovers during the playoffs as they, especially Tatum, took on more team-building duties themselves.


The Finals were where the effect was most noticeable, where Tatum and Brown’s combined assist and turnover averages were 10.7 and 7.2, respectively. Still, their scoring averages dropped from 50.5 PPG on 46.2 FG% in the regular year to 45.0 PPG on 39.8 FG% in the Finals.


The narrative looked straightforward: Tatum and Brown’s ability to score effectively frequently suffered due to having to shoulder more of the burden of developing the team’s offense.


Enter Malcolm Brogdon, a seasoned point guard with a track record of exceptional shooting and scoring (2.6 3PG, 21.2 PPG, 38.8 3P% in 2020-21) and vigorous floor generalship (7.1 APG during the 2019–20 season).


This year, the Celtics are using him as their sixth player, with the defensive player of the year, Smart, from the previous campaign, continuing to start at the point.


Regarding fantasy points per game, he presently holds the 139th-place NBA ranking after finishing 48th the previous year.


Because of how his arrival has altered the Celtics’ strategy for the season, Brogdon significantly impacts both the team and fantasy leagues.


With Derrick White (26.2 MPG), Smart (34.2 MPG), and Brogdon (22.8 MPG), the Celtics now have two lead guards on the floor at once for practically the entire game. Most of the playmaking responsibilities for the Celtics are handled by the three guards, who combine for 11.6 assists per game. And Tatum and Brown have noticed a significant change as a result.


Since they combined for 5.1 APG during the 2019–20 season, Tatum and Brown are only averaging 6.3 assists per game this season, which would be their lowest assist total in three seasons. On the other hand, Tatum and Brown are averaging combined numbers that would be significant career highs (56.1 PPG and 5.8 3PG) while maintaining a much above-average tempo (50.9 FG%).


Even though the season has only had six games played and hot streaks can occur, the stats and eye-test results thus far are in line with expectations.


Tatum was shooting behind the arc at a career-high rate of 42.6%, 70% of his 3-pointers assisted, from 56.5% and 46.5%, respectively, last season. This season, 93.3% of Brown’s 3-pointers have been assisted, an astounding increase from 79.8% and 75.9% from the previous two seasons. Tatum and Brown can now focus on finishing because they are no longer required to develop their offense.


And they are now finishing stronger than ever.


Tatum ranks ninth with 52.3 fantasy points per game (FP/G), up from 16th place with 44.7 FP/G last year. Similarly, Brown improved from 37.0 FP/G and the 42nd slot the previous season to 40.3 FP/G and ranked 29th.


The Celtics also appear more formidable than they have been in recent years. Our Basketball Power Index places them as early favorites for the NBA championship with a BPI score of 5.4, the highest in the league.

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