Malcolm Brogdon, Photo Credit: NBA
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon was called up on stage as his name slowly got drowned with cheers and excitement from both friends and family. He stood up amidst his peers and a sea of clapping people, humbled but proud as he gave his thanks to the people who made it all possible. The rookie who got drafted 36th overall achieved what no one in the history of the NBA Draft’s second round could, be named Rookie of the Year.
Saric got robbed?
Dario Saric, Photo Credit: 6ABC
Philadelphia 76ers’ Dario Saric was the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, he was touted to win especially after teammate Joel Embiid was ruled out of the season due to a bum knee, but he didn’t.
So, what gives?
Saric played 81 games and logged the second most minutes by a rookie with 2,129. He also led all rookies in points with 1,040 and rebounds, 513. The Croatian power forward was second in scoring (12.9 ppg) and third in rebounding (6.3 rpg) per game. Plus, he’s one of the three rookies who was able to make 100 or more three-pointers for the season.
As a starter, he’s been able to take on the challenge of filling in Embiid’s shoes. His increased production, especially on offense, has given Philly’s fans a glimpse on what their young core could achieve at the height of their powers. While it also became one of the reasons as to why he’s been considered as the ROY favorite of 2017.
He did retain his proficiency in shooting despite the slight bump in playing time but his efficiency at taking care of the ball and defending dropped after receiving more minutes in Embiid’s absence. He added one turnover per game with .7 personal fouls in 6 minutes of additional play time. This might have caused a minor hiccup in Saric’s bid for the ROY award.
The case for Brogdon
Bucks Coach Jason Kidd (left) and Malcolm Brogdon (right), Photo Credit: NBA
Brogdon was different, he wasn’t drafted in the first round like Saric, he was just a role-player to some – an afterthought for most.
So, when he was awarded with the ROY award, backlash was expected from some. CBS Philadelphia had a few reactions from Twitter fans:
Perhaps some fans are being too hard on treating Brogdon as “the worst rookie of the year winner,” when we could probably put that on the first winner of the award, Monk Meineke, back in 1953. Meineke had 10.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 4.9 fouls per game on 38.1% FG and 78.3% FT shooting in just 68 games.
But before we jump into any conclusions, let’s take a look at some reasons that could’ve contributed to Brogdon’s selection.
The Bucks’ rookie wasn’t as efficient as Embiid but Brogdon played in twice as many games as “The Process.” We all know that NBA award voters automatically take this as a knock on a player especially since they’re only working on a small sample size, and Embiid’s 31 games just wouldn’t cut it.
On the other hand, Saric had the numbers and the games to back up claims that he’s the best rookie of the season. However, Brogdon compensated for his lack of impressive numbers by being more efficient than the Croatian.
Brogdon almost had a 4-point jump in scoring when he became the starting point guard, much like Saric’s improved performance when he started for the 76ers. The point guard also maintained his efficiency in shooting with a 14.4% improvement in free throws. But what might’ve made voters lean on Brogdon more is his maintained focus on taking care of the ball while also being able to defend well without fouling.
He even tallied 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game to lead all rookies in both categories. The rookie also accumulated a total of 317 assists throughout the whole season, the most out of any rookie in the draft class. Those feats are unparalleled, especially from a 2nd round draftee in a class where you had Kris Dunn as the top point guard.
Brogdon had the fewest minutes and points per game of any ROY winner in history while he didn’t even have a single Rookie of the Month nomination. But maybe, just maybe, the voters might’ve considered that his efficiency far outweighed what the numbers or accolades have shown.
Who do you think should’ve won the 2017 ROY?