Friday, April 21, 2023

Malcolm Brogdon earns NBA's Sixth Man of the Year honors

Malcolm Brogdon has been named Sixth Man of the Year, according to an announcement by the NBA Thursday night.

The Celtics leader off the bench, who didn't start in a single game for the first time in his career, edged out Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley and Bucks forward Bobby Portis as the three finalists for the award.

Brogdon takes home the inaugural John Havlicek trophy after averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 67 games played during the 2022-23 regular season. The veteran guard becomes just the second player in league history to win Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year during their career since Mike Miller (won Sixth Man of the Year in 2005-06).

After being a starter for the first six years in the league (Milwaukee and Indiana), Brogdon knowingly took a reduce role prior to being traded to Boston from the Pacers last summer in order to provide depth to a roster that was fresh off a trip to the NBA Finals.
"It's always good to get recognition for what you're doing -- for your sacrifice, for your work," said Brogdon, who accepted the trophy live in the NBA on TNT studio Thursday. "These are team awards. It takes a team to get an All-NBA to get an All-Star to get Sixth Man, Defensive Player of the Year."
Brogdon earned 60 out of 100 first place votes after being the only player in the league to rank among the top three in scoring, rebounding, and assists among full-time reserves -- finishing the season first in scoring, third in rebounds and second in assists, while notching the fourth best 3-point efficiency of 44.4% among all players.
"Each guy has had to sacrifice or put something aside for the better of this team, and when you have the depth and talent that we have, you can't be in the position that we are without it," said Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla during his post-practice presser Thursday afternoon. "I thought Malcolm taking on the identity of the second unit, getting with the patience of sometimes finishing halves, sometimes not. Sometimes finishing games, not finishing games. I thought just he handled it with an open mind, he handled it with humility and kind of regardless of what his sub pattern was or what he was doing, he just played. And we're grateful for that."
When it comes to playing on a deep roster with championship aspirations, Derrick White knows a thing or two about adjusting to new roles and making sacrifices, something he can appreciate from Brogdon as teammates who both share the same goal.
"We came here wanting to win, so we knew there were going to be sacrifices," White said during his post-practice comments. "Obviously Malcolm could start on a lot of teams in this league and he does a lot of great things for us as soon as he comes into the game. Kind of settles down if we need him to, can do a lot of different things offensively that have been special for us. It's a big addition to have on our team this year."
Brogdon joins a short list of Celtics players to win Sixth Man of the Year, as Kevin McHale won the award in back-to-back seasons (1984 and 1985), while Bill Walton also took home the honors in 1986. It's also good to note that Boston raised two NBA championship banners during that three year span (84' and 86'). 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy The Associated Press

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