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Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown typically get most of the credit for the Boston Celtics, and rightfully so. They each had 35 points in a season-opening victory and then combined for 57 points in Friday’s win over the Miami Heat. Lost in the shuffle is Malcolm Brogdon.

Acquired in a five-for-one offseason trade, Brogdon gives the Celtics much stability and experience off the bench. He knows he’s not a bench player, but he’s happy to sacrifice stats and stardom for a chance at a championship.

Malcolm Brogdon is exactly what the Boston Celtics needed

Malcolm Brogdon of the Boston Celtics drives against Max Strus of the Miami Heat during the first quarter at FTX Arena on October 21, 2022, in Miami, Florida. | Megan Briggs/Getty Images.

Last year, the Celtics toughed their way through the most grueling postseason of any team. They opened with a meeting against Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets. Then they faced the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and the top-seeded Miami Heat. After outlasting the Bucks and Heat in seven games, they faced the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

The run took its toll on the Celtics, who lost in six games to the Warriors. Throughout the postseason, the Celtics used an eight-man rotation, and they eventually wore down.

The Celtics addressed their lack of depth in the offseason, trading for Brogdon. Brad Stevens traded five players to the Indiana Pacers without disrupting the core of the team. He sent Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis, Nick Stauskas, Malik Fitts, and Juwan Morgan, along with a first-round draft pick to secure Brogdon.

Brogdon is a veteran guard who played three seasons with the Bucks and three more with the Pacers. Last year, he put up 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in 33 games. Injuries have plagued Brogdon, but he won’t be asked to play huge minutes and be the leader with the Celtics. He’s a guard who can distribute the ball, shoot, and defend. He brings valuable experience, but his real value is coming off the bench to give the second unit a jolt.

Brogdon unselfishly leads by example


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Brogdon wants to win. He doesn’t need to be the star who fills the stat sheet. He knows he could be a starter in the league, but he’s quietly filling the role the Celtics needed, and he’s filling it perfectly.

In the season-opening win against the Philadelphia 76ers, Brogdon played 24 minutes off the bench and made seven of his 11 shots from the floor. He finished with 16 points and added four assists. In Friday’s win over the Heat, he had seven points and five rebounds in 25 minutes.

For Brogdon and the Celtics, it’s more than numbers. They are a team that relies on defense.

“I haven’t played on a team like this, where every player one through five — everybody that’s on the floor — takes pride in their defense,” Brogdon told Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s a championship characteristic, for sure.”

Brogdon then got into his new role as the team’s sixth man.

“I believe I’m a starter for any team in this league,” he said. “But I’m a guy that can adjust and come off the bench if that’s what the team needs. I’m willing to do that and play the role to the best of my ability.”

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