The impressive play of Malcolm Brogdon has brought some fan discussion of whether he should be starting over Matthew Dellavedova. As well as Malcolm has played to begin his rookie season, the team is better off keeping him in his role as the backup point guard. Malcolm shouldn’t remain the back up because of his stats, match ups, or intangibles. He really has played well for us in his 20 minute a game role. He should remain the team’s back up because it gives the Buck’s their best chance at reaching their potential this season.
Dellavedova is very important to our team, even if his stats aren’t the prettiest little diamond on Earth. Delly has experienced a lot during his three years in Cleveland. He attempted to shut down Steph Curry in the finals, which went about as good as anyone can ask. He could study how Lebron James goes about leading a team. He learned to play alongside a generational ball heavy talent, so playing alongside Giannis and Jabari isn’t roughing his feathers. He’s been around the league long enough that he can help Giannis and Jabari understand what’s needed to consistently produce in this league. Whereas, Giannis and Jabari need to show Malcolm the ropes.
I don’t think benching Matthew Dellavedova would cause him to pout and not play his best for Milwaukee. He’s one of the high character guys you want on your team because he puts the game of basketball before himself, but it would put Brogdon and Dellavedova in a situation that has them less likely to succeed. The best things about Delly and the best things about Malcolm are both being implemented this season.
There really isn’t that big of difference between their play, so far this season. Brogdon has been the better scorer, but Dellavedova keeps the team on its track. Dellavedova’s main goal is to get the ball in the hands of Giannis or Jabari. This is what we need from our starting point guard, more than anything else. All our best games this season, Giannis and Jabari have carried us to joyful basketball. I’m not saying Brogdon wouldn’t play alongside the two stars well, as he clearly does. It’s just, he’s bringing us some very efficient scoring off the bench, something I’m not sure Dellavedova would be able to bring us in the same role.
Dellavedova can get himself a basket, but it’s more difficult for him to create space for his shot than Brogdon. His most effective shot is his floater, as he doesn’t need a ton of space to get it off, but beyond that he needs time and space to be an effective scorer. On his jump shot, he takes an extra second to torque his legs to get all the lift possible, but it can throw off his rhythm if the opponent closes on him hard. He needs all the space created by Giannis and Jabari to be at his best as a shooter, and hopefully that comes as the season progresses. Playing with Beasley and Moose just wouldn’t give him the space needed to shoot even at the rate he has this season.
By bringing Brogdon into the starting lineup, we’re putting more pressure on Giannis as our primary ball handler. Brogdon is a good ball handler, but he’s not quite as good of a playmaker as Dellavedova. Occasionally the Bucks give Giannis an opportunity to rest for a possession by letting Delly take control of primary ball handling duties. This allows Giannis to sit in the corner, while Delly probes the defense, looking to put up a floater, lob pass, or get the ball into Jabari’s hands for an isolation opportunity.
When playing with Brogdon, Giannis spends more time with the ball in his hands, trying to slash to the rim looking for a kick out. If he finds Brogdon, Malcolm is looking to make a play by either pulling up, getting to the rim, or finding a kick out, but he rarely brings the ball out and resets the offense. Dellavedova is less inclined to make the scoring play, so he rotates the ball to the other side of the floor for Jabari to get his opportunity. That’s so important to our team. It tells the defense, “Sure you finally stopped Giannis this possession, but now you must stop Jabari too. We’re making you earn this defensive stop.”
Look, I’m sure Brogdon can come in and play well with the starting lineup, maybe even bring a little extra scoring punch, but like most rookies, he will likely hit his rookie wall in the coming months. College players just aren’t used to playing all 82 games, which is another situation Dellavedova has the upper hand. Not only does he know exactly what to expect down the stretch of the season, he knows how to physically prepare for it in the offseason, that’s something that Brogdon just hasn’t had the opportunity to learn yet.
The biggest difference between Delly and Brogdon is their experience in the league, Delly helps lead, Brogdon currently gets led. Promoting him too quickly could hurt both of their play, putting the Bucks in quite the pickle for trying to make the playoffs this season. Perhaps Brogdon will be the better player next season, but as of right now, things are perfect as they are. The starting lineup runs smoothly, as does the bench. Why should we mess with that?