Coming off an ultra-productive four-year career at Virginia, Malcolm Brogdon played an impressive, efficient game, scoring 17 points on only eight shots, while contributing in a handful of different areas. The 23-year-old two-guard looked like the best pure basketball player among all four 5-on-5 teams as he was able to distribute as the primary ball handler, knock down open shots, and finish over length and through contact all while locking up on the defensive end.
There's not a ton of flash to Brogdon's game he's not an explosive athlete and he doesn't have the most beautiful shooting stroke but he's been a winner at every level (his team won by 40 points on Thursday) and most certainly stood out as the most NBA-ready player to play 5-on-5. At 6' 5.5 with a 6' 10.5 wingspan and a strong 223-pound frame, Brogdon found some success playing on the ball on Thursday, especially out of ball screens.
He doesn't exactly turn the corner in isolation situations, but he showed that he's a sound ball handler versus pressure and has the IQ to facilitate against a variety of pick and roll coverages. Brogdon may not be loaded with upside but he has a winning mentality, is a tremendous defender, can make standstill jumpers and knows how to make up for some of his athletic limitations as a half-court scorer. He's a safe pick for a team in the late first or early second round, and could very well rise with more strong performances during the pre-draft process.
Scouting Report by Matt Kamalsky. Video Analysis by Mike Schmitz
Coming off a season that saw him earn a spot on the NCAA All-American Second Team, Malcolm Brogdon figured to play an absolutely critical role for a talented, experienced Virginia squad set to play arguably the toughest schedule in the country in the wake of Justin Anderson's departure to the NBA.
Rising to the occasion, Brogdon, who finished his career as one of the most decorated players in Virginia history, averaged a sensational 18.2 points per game, while playing outstanding individual defense on his way to winning ACC Player of the Year honors and landing on the consensus All-American 1st Team while helping lead Virginia to its first Elite Eight since 1995. One of the most productive players in the 2016 senior class, the Georgia native took another step forward as an NBA prospect in his fifth year at the college level, all while solidifying his legacy in the college game.
Measured at the USA Basketball 2015 Pan American Games Training Camp, Brogdon stands 6'5.5 in shoes with a strong 220-pound frame. He has a 6'10 wingspan that allows him to play a bit bigger defensively, and possesses good size, big hands and a terrific frame for a shooting guard overall. An average athlete by NBA standards, the Greater Atlanta Christian product makes the most of his physical tools by playing with tremendous intensity. His dogged dedication to executing within Tony Bennett's demanding system on both ends made him one of the most valuable players in the country this season.
Taking on a larger role in Bennett's mover-blocker offense as a senior, Brogdon was one of just 43 players in Division I and 13 in high major conferences to use over 17 possessions per game and score over 1.00 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Functioning as a first option at the collegiate level for the first time, Brogdon lived off a steady diet of off screen actions and spot ups, doing most of his damage playing off the ball, but was also frequently asked to create shots under duress when Virginia couldn't generate a look out of its motion system. There isn't much flash to Brogdon's game and he doesn't have a true calling card offensively, but he's a smart, poised scorer who scored in a variety of ways at the college level.
With 62% of his shots coming from the perimeter in the half court over the course of the season, perhaps the biggest development in Brogdon's game from this time a year ago is the improvement in his jump shot. Knocking down 43% of his 4.5 catch and shoot jump shots per game, up from 36% a year ago, Brogdon, as he noted when he interviewed him last summer, took to the gym to improve his perimeter stroke. He converted 46% of his attempts shooting off screens, one of the highest rates in the country, particularly at the volume he operated at.
He still shoots a somewhat flat ball and the hitch that plagued his effectiveness early in his career still pops up from time to time, but Brogdon was significantly more dangerous threat to score when left open on the perimeter this season. His ability to translate his shot to the NBA 3-point line will be worth keeping an eye on, as his lack of arc won't help in that regard, but he has the type of work ethic that can't be discounted.
Off the bounce, Brodgon lacks a degree of shiftiness and explosiveness, making it difficult for him to turn the corner at times already at the college level. He's figured out how to use his overpowering strength more effectively, though, and proved more opportunistic this season that he did a year ago. Shooting 58% around the rim in the half court, up from a middling 50% a year ago, Brogdon appeared to pick and choose his spots a bit more effectively attacking the rim and finishing with either hand, as his less than stellar leaping ability had previously hurt his ability to score over length, and could very well become more of an issue again in the NBA.
Just a decent pull-up shooter, with a flat-footed stroke that gets very little elevation and comes out of his hand somewhat awkwardly (out instead of up), Brogdon made around 35% of his off the dribble jumpers both this and last season. He more eagerly took what the defense gave him this season, forcing fewer drives into traffic and attempting more open midrange shots in space to compensate for his low release point. He also showed some improvement in his ability to use his left hand, connecting on little scoops around defenders and floaters moving parallel to the rim that he likely would have missed a year ago.
As a passer, Brogdon proved very heady last season, dishing out 4.1 assists per-40 minutes pace adjusted compared to just 1.8 turnovers. He isn't a dynamic shot creator, but he does an excellent job moving the ball unselfishly on the perimeter and not trying to do too much off the dribble at this stage in his career.
The challenge for Brogdon moving forward will be carving out a niche offensively at the NBA. He plays an efficient, low-mistake brand of basketball, but his lack of explosiveness and concerns about his shooting mechanics give scouts pause. Despite that, his effort, unselfishness, and ability to execute give him intriguing roleplayer potential and could serve him well if he can prove himself as a cog against quality competition. His maturity, basketball IQ and work ethic figure to give him a better chance than most at making things work.
Something similar can be said about Brogdon defensively, where the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and 2016 NABC Defensive Player of the Year was one of the staunchest guards in the college game as a senior. A coach's dream in terms of effort, toughness, and mentality, Brogdon is one of the best examples of substance over style among guard prospects on this end in recent memory, defending all three perimeter positions at the college level effectively. Coming up with just .9 steals per game, Brogdon takes essentially no risks on this end, but scraps and claws to fight through screens, stay in front of his man closing out or defending one-on-one, and get a hand in the face of shooters at all times.
Seemingly never over-committing when he closes out or taking a bad angle defending off the ball, the main knock on Brogdon is his lack of elite lateral quickness. There's little doubt he'll fit nicely into whatever system he plays in next season from a team perspective, but his ability to keep the elite players at the shooting guard position in front of him consistently is a point of interest.
One of the top seniors in the college game this season, Malcolm Brogdon made significant strides in a number of areas while closing the book on his terrific college career. Improving steadily over the last few years, there's room for optimism about Brogdon at the next level. Having turned 23 in December, he may not have elite upside, but his maturity and strong base of fundamentals on both ends should be enough to give a secure him a guaranteed NBA roster spot for at least a year or two and show that his game can translate to the next level.
Few players in college basketball have won more games than Malcolm Brogdon and the Virginia Cavaliers over the past three seasons, posting a combined record of 83-23, including a 60-11 mark over the past two years, and back to back ACC regular season championships.
Brogdon has been a key part of that success, on both ends of the court. He has been the leading scorer on deep Virginia teams in each of the past two seasons, one of Tony Bennett's primary initiators on the perimeter, and a versatile defender on a team full of resourceful defenders.
Brogdon made big strides in his jump shot between his freshman and sophomore seasons, going from connecting on 22 three point attempts at a 32.4% clip during his freshman season to 44 made threes at a 37% clip during his sophomore season. There was a little bit of a regression for Brogdon during his junior season, as he connected on only 34.4% of his three's last year at Virginia. Synergy Sports Technology paints a similar picture on his overall jump shooting effectiveness, as he dropped from 1.036 points per possession as a jump shooter during his sophomore year to a still respectable, but lower, 0.938 as a junior.
Beyond the numbers, there is some hope for Brogdon to continue to improve down the line. The hitch we mentioned during previous write-ups, while still there on occasion, has been smoothed out somewhat, especially on catch and shoot opportunities. While his percentages fell a bit, he also got less open looks than he did as a sophomore, as Synergy logged nearly 70% of his catch and shoot attempts as having been guarded. When Brogdon was open, he was a consistent shooter from the catch.
Brogdon also continues to show the ability to shoot when coming off a screen, with good footwork and an ability to elevate over a defender. He also shows some touch shooting off the dribble, although here his form, both in his footwork and the fluidity of his release, can break down more frequently than it does off the catch. Brogdon has good touch overall, so it's possible that a coach at the next level might believe they could make some improvement in his shot down the line with minor tweaks and added repetition.
Off the dribble, Brogdon uses his 6'5.5, 220 pound frame to his advantage, with a willingness to absorb contact at the rim. Brogdon isn't a hyper-athlete, especially at the rim, and he has average quickness for the next level. Brogdon could use some more improvement in his off hand, as he can get sloppy with his dribble when going left, and can still be erratic finishing at the hoop when forced to use his left hand.
At 3.2 assists and 2.3 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted, Brogdon makes good decisions with the ball and is a willing passer. Brogdon overall has a strong basketball IQ and solid court awareness, and usually plays within himself.
Brogdon's physical attributes give him a good defensive profile. He stands just under 6'6 in shoes, solidly built at 220 pounds, and with a 6'10 wingspan and 8'6 standing reach that are both good for his position, and all of this makes him a versatile defender. He moves his feet well on the perimeter, gets in a good defensive stance, fights through screens, and is engaged and attentive, both on and off the ball. There is some question about whether Brogdon can keep up with some of the elite athletes at the next level, but he won't get beat based on effort or willingness.
There aren't too many glaring holes in Brogdon's game, and that kind of versatility, coachability, and defensive effort is something that should endear him to coaches at any level. But Brogdon is one of those tricky prospects because he's sort of a jack of all trades, master of none, at least when projecting to the NBA level. Brogdon certainly has 3-and-D potential at the next level, but may not be the sure thing in either of those regards that some may hope for. Brogdon will be 23 by the time the 2016 NBA draft rolls around, but if he's able to improve his consistency in any of these facets, he has the kind of role player game that could prove valuable.
If the Nike Academy tracked individual player wins throughout the course of the camp, Brogdon would have most certainly been the leader of the pack. The 6' 5.5 bowling ball does so many little things that translate to victories, and it's no surprise that, given his history of winning at Virginia, it translated to the camp setting.
From a physical perspective, Brogdon has some strong attributes for an NBA two-guard. He has good size, great length, big hands and the lateral quickness to really get after it on the perimeter. Brogdon plays with a level of toughness and intensity coaches will fall in love with at the pro level. He's always in the right place at the right time on defense, and rarely commits a bad turnover on offense. He's comfortable operating as a secondary ball handler in the half court and just knows how to play.
Brogdon also shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter, despite his less than stellar mechanics that feature an ugly hitch and a flat trajectory. It isn't pretty, but Brogdon has fairly nice touch overall, evident by his 87% career free throw percentage.
With all of that said, Brogdon doesn't quite have one NBA-level skill (aside from defense) that he can hang his hat on at the next level. He's an average athlete by NBA standards and will have some trouble both getting his shot off against high-level wing defenders and finishing at the rim consistently.
Brogdon can make an open three, but his shot mechanics don't lead you to believe that he'll be able to knock down shots consistently from the NBA line with athletic guards with 7-foot wingspans closing out quickly. Brogdon brings a level of toughness, IQ, and physicality to any court he steps on, but he's no lock for the NBA at this stage as a jack of all trades, master of none type, who will already be 23 years old by the time the 2016 NBA Draft rolls around.
After sitting out and redshirting the 2012-2013 season to recover from foot surgery, Malcolm Brogdon burst onto the scene for his redshirt sophomore season, seeing a rise in minutes and production for a very balanced Virginia team that earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament by winning the ACC regular season and conference tournament, before falling in the Sweet Sixteen. With Joe Harris moving on to the NBA, Brogdon returns to the Cavaliers as the likely number one offensive weapon, which will be a good showcase for him to show his skills on an even larger scale.
Brogdon has been measured at 6'5, with a long wingspan that gives him a nice base for his physical tools. At around 220 pounds, Brogdon is strong for a player of his size but still has some room to add to his frame to help him as he drives the lane against bigger players. While he has nice size, the rest of his physical tools don't leap off the page, as he doesn't have elite speed or explosiveness. He may have trouble matching some of the elite athleticism you see at the shooting guard level in the NBA, so he will have to find other ways to prove himself to NBA scouts.
Brogdon demonstrated he could score in a variety of ways and will need to show he can continue to do so as the top option this season. He showed an impressive jump shot, hitting 37% of his three pointers. He is able to create space from his defender and is comfortable shooting out of catch and shoot situations (41.7% according to Synergy Sports Technology) or off the dribble (37.5% on 48 attempts). He moves well without the ball to get open and looked proficient cutting into space or using screens to his advantage.
His jump shooting last season is a marked increase from his freshman season, where he hit just 30.8% of his overall attempts according to Synergy Sports Technology. His improvement looks sustainable as he cleaned up his mechanics, especially his release, but will need to show he can shoot this well over a larger sample of more than just 118 attempts, as it is likely his most translatable skill, which will play a major role in determining whether he can carve out a niche at the NBA level.
Off dribble penetration, Brogdon showed flashes of potential but will need to show clear improvement to demonstrate he will be able to create off the dribble at the next level. He can use the dribble in a variety of ways to get the rim, but is just an average finisher around the rim, particularly with his left hand. Brogdon relies heavily on his strength to help him slash to the basket as Virginia's best shot-creator, doing a great job of bumping and dislodging defenders with his mature frame and crafty scoring instincts. There are major question marks regarding how this strategy will work in the NBA, where quickness is a far more coveted trait than pure strength.
This strategy isn't incredibly effective already at the college level, as Brogdon's 43% 2-point percentage is poor for a player at his position, and something NBA scouts will want to see improve to show he can make up for his average athleticism. Brogdon does a good job of keeping turnovers to a minimum, only coughing the ball up on 11% of his possessions, and is capable of finding the open man in drive and dish situations, even though he still has work to do on his passing ability to be considered more of a combo guard than a straight 2.
Defensively, it remains to be clear whether Brogdon can provide value at the next level. On one hand, he works hard and has a high IQ on the defensive end, always being in the right place. He has active, long arms and plays the passing lanes to the tune of 1.7 steals per 40 minutes pace adjusted. However, he may not have the athleticism to match up with other NBA level shooting guards on a nightly basis, as he will likely be at a disadvantage from a speed and quickness standpoint. To counteract this, Brogdon will have to continue to play at a high energy level at this end to make up for his athletic deficiencies and contribute on the defensive side.
Brogdon is a capable defensive rebounder as he grabbed 6.4 rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, one of the highest marks among shooting guards last season. He attacks the defensive glass and uses his length and strength to rebound outside his area. He may not be called upon to fill this role at the next level but is a promising sign for what he can accomplish on defense and shows his commitment to this end of the court.
Looking ahead to this season, Brogdon has a great opportunity to lead Virginia to another successful season while showcasing his versatility to NBA scouts. He exceeded all expectations last season and certainly put himself on the map, but is yet to demonstrate one skill that he can definitively hang his hat on at the NBA level at this stage.
After sitting out a year due to injury, Brogdon is a year older than others in the junior class, turning 22 in December, the same age as many college seniors. He will be a player to keep an eye as Virginia works through its ACC schedule, as another strong season would help him demonstrate that he has the scoring instincts and basketball IQ to be considered a serious NBA prospect.