Malcolm Brogdon was the big signing this offseason for the Indiana Pacers, and he has the right skill set to be a perfect fit alongside Victor Oladipo in the backcourt
The Indiana Pacers had a very active offseason this past summer. They had seven expiring contracts heading into free agency, and with that had a lot of decisions to be made. The Pacers decided they wanted to be more aggressive in free agency this summer, and in doing so they landed the guy who they think can be one of the cornerstones of a very special team for years to come, Malcolm Brogdon.
Now, as it stands, the Pacers are going to be without their All-Star guard Victor Oladipo for what sounds like it could be a few months. But Victor and management both say that he is well on his way back to where he was before the injury. And an All-NBA level Victor Oladipo paired with Brogdon in the Pacers backcourt is exactly what Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan envisioned when they went out and made the trade with Milwaukee back in June.
Malcolm Brogdon is coming off a spectacular 2018-19 season, one in which he joined the illustrious 50-40-90 club, a feat that had only been accomplished 13 other times in NBA history. Brogdon shot a career-high from all areas on the floor, shooting 51 percent from the field, 43 percent from 3-point range, and an astounding 93 percent from the free-throw line.
While Brogdon is a guy who can create his own shot, he is not a ball-dominant point guard by any stretch of the imagination. As good as Brogdon is with the ball in his hands, he is just as good off the ball, making cuts to the basket and spotting up for corner 3’s.
This versatility he brings is something that will work perfectly alongside Oladipo. Brogdon’s ability to make backdoor cuts to the basket goes hand in hand with Vic’s driving and ability to make quick passes to the open man when the help defense comes up to help.
Brogdon’s excellent shooting also allows him to space the floor and hit catch and shoot 3-pointers. This ability is another perfect complement to a player like Victor Oladipo, who likes to drive the lane and get to the rim. When Vic drives to the rim it will create opportunities for Brogdon to spot up in the corner and knock down 3’s when defenders crash the lane, something he became proficient at while playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.
About Oladipo being the primary playmaker, Malcolm Brogdon has come out and said:
“He can have the ball in his hands as much as he wants. But when he doesn’t want the ball, he can trust that his point guard will make a decision and can step up for him.”
He has been with the team for just a few months and has already shown that he cares about the team-first and will do whatever it takes to help this Pacers team win, whether that be by playing off of Oladipo or having the offense run through him.
Not only will Brogdon fit in alongside Oladipo on the offensive end, but he will be a great partner on the defensive end of the floor as well. Brogdon has been one of the better defenders in the NBA since he entered the league back in 2016.
Because of his combination of size and quickness, he can essentially guard the 1, 2, or 3 positions effectively. If it is decided he is going to be on the primary ball-handler on a given night, Vic will be able to cut into passing lanes and start in transition the other way, something he may be one of the best in the league at.
This will work extraordinarily well next to Vic, who is also someone that prides himself on his defensive tenacity. Oladipo is one of the best guard defenders in the league and was voted onto the First Team All-Defensive team in 2017-18, and led the league in steals as well. All on his way to a 64 game streak with at least one steal.
Brogdon has already come out and said that he will be willing to guard the other team’s best player whenever he is called upon to do so. He has said that he looks forward to helping take some of the defensive pressure off of Victor on that end of the floor, so that Vic can exert more energy on the offensive end and be the playmaker that the team knows he can be.
That is something that Oladipo has had in small stretches while sharing the floor with Cory Joseph, but never for an extended amount of time with the caliber of player Brogdon is. The defensive backcourt of Brogdon and Oladipo is a terrifying thought for opposing guards trying to get into any sort of rhythm offensively, and rightfully so.
All of this comes with a big “what if” however. What if Victor Oladipo is not able to come back at the same level he was playing prior to his injury? That is a question that has been going through every Pacers fan’s head for months now. And for good reason. The injury he sustained was a very serious one and not an injury that many basketball players go through.
But Victor Oladipo is one of the hardest-working players in the league, something else he and Malcolm Brogdon have in common. He knows that the plan is to have him and Brogdon in the backcourt together long term. On paper, they compliment each other in almost every aspect of the game. Both of them want to be in Indiana, and both of them want to help this team do special things. And I for one can’t wait to watch it.