The Boston Celtics made a splash Friday by acquiring a versatile two-way guard in Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers.
The reported trade, which cannot become official until July 9, included the Celtics sending a protected 2023 first-round pick, Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and Nik Stauskas to the Pacers in exchange for Brogdon.
The initial reactions to this trade have been very positive for the Celtics.
Brogdon provides the Celtics with a fantastic boost of outside shooting, playmaking ability, perimeter defense and composure in late-game clutch scenarios.
ESPN's Kevin Pelton has graded every trade during the 2022 offseason, and he was among the experts giving the Celtics high marks for this deal.
Pelton's grade for the Celtics is an A-.
"Brogdon can play off the ball to complement (Jaylen) Brown, (Marcus) Smart and Jayson Tatum handling it," Pelton wrote as part of his trade analysis. "He's a career 38 percent 3-point shooter whose diet of attempts beyond the arc should hew closer to what it was in Milwaukee (where 83 percent of his attempts were assisted, via Basketball-Reference.com) than in Indiana (60 percent). For his career, Brogdon has made 42 percent of catch-and-shoot 3 attempts as compared to 32 percent of all others, per Second Spectrum."
Brogdon averaged 19.1 points with 5.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for the Pacers last season. In addition to his above-average 3-point shooting, he also ranks among the league's top free throw shooters. The 29-year-old veteran hit 85.6 percent of his free throw attempts last season and has a career percentage of 88.6 percent over six campaigns. Free throw shooting often was a problem for the Celtics during the 2022 playoffs.
Brogdon also upgrades the Celtics defensively with his versatility.
"On defense, the 6-foot-5 Brogdon gives Boston yet another physical defender for his size capable of switching on bigger opponents," Pelton writes. "Already, the Celtics' playoff rotations featured few openings for opponents to attack. If Brogdon supplants the smaller Payton Pritchard and Derrick White in the backcourt, those options will shrink further on the perimeter."
The Celtics gave up an average of just 104.8 points in six NBA Finals games against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors scored almost 115 points per game through the first three rounds of the playoffs. Defense was certainly not the problem for Boston in the Finals. The Celtics lost to the Warriors because they lacked enough offensive depth and playmaking skill.
The addition of Brogdon gives the Celtics another proven scorer and a player who can create quality shots for teammates as a primary ballhandler. Turnovers proved fatal for the Celtics in the NBA Finals, and Brogdon has averaged only 1.8 turnovers per game over his career. He's an ideal fit to improve the flow and potency of the Celtics offense, while also ensuring the defense doesn't worsen whenever he's on the court.