Milwaukee Bucks: 3 keys for Game 2 vs. Raptors

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /
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Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images /

3. Find more minutes for Malcolm Brogdon

Three years ago, few outside of committed college basketball fans were familiar with the name Malcolm Brogdon. The guard out of Virginia went in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft and was the opposite of “flashy” in his hard-nosed defensive game. Yet he carved out a role for himself from the start, winning Rookie of the Year because of his contributions to a playoff team.

Two seasons later, Brogdon was a crucial part of the starting lineup all season for a team that won 60 games. An injury kept him out for the last 13 games of the regular season and the first eight of the playoffs. He returned in Game 5 against the Celtics and was a +14 in 16 minutes.

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Head coach Mike Budenholzer has not yet fully returned Brogdon to his former role, either in terms of minute-load or spot in the starting lineup. He may not be able to hold him back for much longer, as Brogdon has continued to ball out. In Wednesday’s game he was +18 in a game his team won by eight points. As Hoops Habit‘s own Ananth Para wrote after the game, Brogdon was the Bucks’ best guard on Wednesday night.

Brogdon has a reliable outside shot, can drive to the basket and finish, and perhaps most valuably, can dime up teammates in perfect spots. On a second unit made up of haphazard parts, it will be shooting and vision that open things up. Defensively, he can hang reliably with any backcourt options on Toronto, even guarding Kawhi Leonard at times the other night.

More minutes for Brogdon means less minutes somewhere, which would be a difficult choice for head coach Mike Budenholzer. He has had a number of bench players step up this postseason, and cutting one or two down in minutes or out of the rotation entirely would seem unfair. Yet the reality is that Brogdon has been great since returning and is deserving of all the minutes Budenholzer will give him.