Milwaukee Bucks: Brown and DiVincenzo hot start justifies Brogdon trade

DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 11: Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 11, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 11: Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 11, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

After the Milwaukee Bucks traded Malcolm Brogdon this offseason, there was plenty of complaints from the fan base. However, Donte DiVincenzo and Sterling Brown have picked up his minutes well.

Donte DiVincenzo and Sterling Brown have both had hot starts to the season for the Milwaukee Bucks. Going into the season, many people saw them as unproven backup options and the question was how well could they step up in the absence of Malcolm Brogdon and where would that scoring come from.

Brogdon did a lot of great things for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was a big guard who could bully smaller shooting guards in the post or off the dribble and defend multiple positions well. He shot the ball well from everywhere on the floor, leading to his 50/40/90 season. He had a high basketball IQ and always knew where all his teammates were and got the ball to the open man extremely well.

So let’s take a look at how his production last year compares to DiVincenzo and Brown this season. But before we begin there are a couple of disclaimers with this. For one, we will not look at Brogdon’s production this year because he is in a completely different role where he is handling the ball more (but for the record he’s only shooting 32.1 percent on threes because he doesn’t have Giannis getting him wide open looks anymore). Also, I understand that comparing two guys to one can be seen as unfair, but he’s getting paid far more than both of them combined, so I think it’s a fair comparison.

First, the scoring department, because that’s an easy way to measure how well someone is doing. Last season, Malcolm Brogdon averaged 15.6 points per game on 11.7 shots per night. This season, DiVincenzo and Brown have combined to score 14.2 points on 12.6 shots. Admittedly, that’s slightly worse. They don’t match his efficiency, but it’s not a huge drop and, again, they’re getting paid a lot less.

Next, we’ll look at playmaking, because these guys both have some chances to have the ball in their hands each game similar to Brogdon last year. Brogdon averaged 3.2 assists and 1.4 turnovers per game last season, an assist to turnover ratio of 2.3:1. In 2019, the new wings we’re looking at here are averaging 3.1 assists and 2.1 turnovers, a ratio of 1.5:1. Playmaking is not the strength of Brown or DiVincenzo and I will concede that Brogdon was better in this area.

So we’ve found two areas, arguably the two most important, where Brogdon is better. How could I say DiVincenzo and Brown are doing good enough to completely justify the trade? Well we’re not done yet. Next is rebounding and while Brogdon was a big guard, he did not pull down tons of rebounds. Last season, he averaged 4.5 per game, and this year our new wing combo is averaging over double that at 9.1. Sterling Brown has 5.1 by himself in 11 less minutes per game. These guys both crash the glass and pull down rebounds on both sides of the court.

Finally, the defensive end of the court. Brogdon was good at rotating and often found himself in the right place and could man up pretty well with most wings. I will argue that Brown and DiVincenzo have both done better in their own ways this season for the Milwaukee Bucks.

First, Donte DiVincenzo does many of the things Brogdon can, rotating quickly and being in the right place at the right time. The thing that is special about Donte is his defensive hands. He can get a hand in to pick a guys pocket on dribble moves and seems to always have a hand in the passing lane to at least get a deflection. He’s averaging 1.5 steals per game because of this, more than double what Brogdon did last year. On the other hand, Sterling is just a tenacious defender. He could be matched up on any guy in the league and believe he can stop him. He gets after it on the defensive end and is always locked in.

To be clear, this is not anything negative on Malcolm Brogdon. He did a lot of things well here and he was one of my favorite players. The point is that we are just fine without him and having another year under the luxury tax before the Milwaukee Bucks inevitably give Giannis Antetokounmpo the max salary this summer was important.

Additionally, Brogdon didn’t really want to be here. He wanted a change of scenery and a bigger role, which he got with the Indiana Pacers. Sometimes, trades can be mutually beneficial. We got some much-needed draft capital back, and they got their guy. Things are good in Milwaukee, and letting these young Bucks run free has sped up their development and has shown that they’re perfectly capable of having big roles on a championship team.

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Feel free to let me know what you think of DiVincenzo and Brown’s contributions and the Milwaukee Bucks’ early season in general. Did you think the Brogdon trade was a mistake? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or @DairylandXpress.