The holidays are over and order has been restored — Player of the Week is, in fact, weekly once more. And what a busy week it was! The Celtics had four games on their slate last week — all wins, three of which came by double-digits. On Monday, they fended off the Chicago Bulls, followed by an impressive back-to-back pair of triumphs against the New Orleans Pelicans and Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and Thursday, before closing out the week by handling the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
In other words, it was a busy, successful week! Let’s hop into our runners-up.
Jaylen Brown looked to be getting red-hot before an adductor strain ended his week early. His performance against the Bulls on Monday (19 points, 7-of-21 shooting) left much to be desired, but he more than made up for it two nights later, going off for a season-high 41 points and snagging 12 boards in a high-profile showdown against the Pelicans. Matchups against the Kevin Durant-less Nets and the lowly Hornets offered an opportunity to start a streak, but unfortunately, he’ll miss up to two weeks of play instead.
Jayson Tatum chipped in a decent week of his own, cracking the 30-point mark three times in four outings. It was a bit more of a “volume” week than an efficiency one, though, as he shot just 42% from the field. The center duo of Al Horford and Robert Williams III made an impact, despite trading rest nights for the Wednesday/Thursday back-to-back. Horford connected on 10 threes in three games en route to a hyper-efficient 13-point average for the week, while Williams continued to spark the Celtics with his all-around impact, including a 6-12-3-2-1 stat line in Saturday’s win over Charlotte.
All things considered, though, this week’s pick is pretty clear.
CelticsBlog Player of the Week #13: Malcolm Brogdon
4 GP, 24.8 MPG, 19.3 PPG (56% FG, 50% 3PT), 4.8 REB, 3 AST, +34
Brogdon is the standout this week, as it feels like he’s really starting to find his stride in Celtics Green in the early weeks of 2023. After scoring just four points in the New Year’s Day loss to Denver, Brogdon has rattled off seven straight double-digit performances, by far his longest such stretch this season.
Thus far this year, the numbers say he’s played well. His 48/45/89 shooting line is his best since joining the 50-40-90 club in his final season with the Bucks (on lower usage). In terms of consistent impact, though, it feels like Brogdon had yet to make a notable stamp on his first season in Boston to this point. There have been some glimpses, like a 25-point, 9-of-10 shooting performance against the Bulls in early November to avenge the team’s first loss of the season. But until now, it hasn’t felt like there was one extended stretch of high-level play you could really point to.
Well, after a fairly quiet 3-of-9 shooting night against Chicago, Brogdon was off to the races. He shot better than 60% from the field across the remaining three games this week, and seemed to really take charge of his offensive responsibility on this team. He scored 20 against the Pelicans, 16 against the Nets (in just 20 minutes), and 30 against the Hornets as part of his best week as a Celtic.
His 30-point night against Charlotte was his best game in Boston to this point by far. Already short the services of Brown, the Celtics lost Derrick White shortly after tip-off with a neck sprain, leading to Brogdon’s third-highest minutes logged this season (31) and, perhaps most importantly, his most shot attempts (17). He absolutely cooked the Hornets’ (admittedly weak) perimeter defense all night long.
That’s more like it. Brogdon is a player who has proven he can operate with a larger offensive workload and remain productive, as evidenced by his 25%+ usage rate across his three seasons with the Pacers. Those Indiana teams placed a heavy burden on his shoulders, especially given that his planned pairing with Victor Oladipo never quite came to fruition after Oladipo’s injury struggles.
This recent surge from Brogdon comes at a particularly good time, considering Brown’s injury. Overall, the Celtics may not need him to carry as much of a load as his did in Indiana, but that experience still carries value. He’s the one player on this roster outside of Tatum and Brown who has a credible track record of high-volume offensive production, save for Al Horford (debatably, an entire era ago) or Blake Griffin (c’mon). The Celtics brought him in to be a reliable initiator — a potent third scorer in the sixth man role.
We’re now seeing what that looks like in practicality. Brogdon has turned the page to 2023 along with the rest of us, and he’s playing his absolute best basketball in Boston to kick off the new year. Maintaining this level of production will go a long way towards raising both this team’s ceiling and its floor — even after Brown returns to the lineup. This is the version of Brogdon that can really elevate the Celtics, and in the best-case scenario, this certainly won’t be the last time he appears in this particular space.
Coming up next, the Celtics have a three-game week. They handily beat the Hornets on Monday afternoon, 130-118, and now look ahead to their second shot at the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, before a Saturday evening trip to Toronto for a showdown with the Toronto Raptors. As always, we want to hear your thoughts — let us know what you think about the standout performers of week past and the one ahead in the comments below, and we’ll be back next week to discuss in more detail.