Malcolm Brogdon didn’t sound too excited at first when the Milwaukee Bucks traded for Eric Bledsoe. Sure, the reigning Rookie of the Year and the inbound floor general play the same position, so there was that to consider. But he was also close with Greg Monroe, who was flipped to the Phoenix Suns as part of the deal.
That initial shock appears to have subsided. Bledsoe is with the Bucks. Head coach Jason Kidd has put him in the starting lineup. And Brogdon, for his part, is embracing the opportunity to lead second units with Matthew Dellavedova, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Matt Velazquez:
I think we’re playing well together,” Brogdon said of the second unit. “I think it helps having two point guards coming off the bench, me and Delly, playing together. It helps the ball be facilitated. Everybody’s touching it, everybody feels like they’re into the game and they play defense harder. …
“Acquiring Eric really allows us to be a deeper team, to be able to bring better players off the bench, to keep coming at teams with strong guards and strong players.”
Milwaukee’s bench has been a problem for much of this season. They ranked as one of the five worst by net rating prior to the Bledsoe trade, according to NBA.com. Brogdon beefs up their playmaking off the pine, which consisted primarily of Delly beforehand, who remains unfit to run an offense on his own.
Coming off the bench also gives Brogdon the opportunity to lead his own offense. The Bucks were more inclined to let Khris Middleton run things while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brogdon rested, rather than the other way around. The latter now gets additional time to captain an attack as the lead ball-handler, perhaps initiating more pick-and-rolls. And don’t be surprised to see Jabari Parker and Brogdon-plus-bench units upon the former’s return.
Yes, being relegated to the bench is technically a demotion. But this extra exposure as a featured ball-handler should actually help Brogdon’s progression. And he should still close games. The Antetokounmpo-Bledsoe-Brogdon-Middleton foursome figures to be featured prominently down the stretch of tight contests, ensuring that Brogdon doesn’t get too lost amid Milwaukee’s newly acquired depth.