After five games out, Matthew Dellavedova finally made his return from a recent hamstring strain. Jason Kidd did the wise move and first put him on the bench in his first game back against the Washington Wizards on Sunday while rookie Malcolm Brogdon kept his place as the starting point guard.
However, this should be the setup Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks need to stick with going forward to give them the best chance of making it back to the postseason. Here are the reasons why:
Brogdon Earned It
As the old NFL saying goes, “Next Man Up.” When Dellavedova went down, Brogdon got his opportunity to start, and did he ever make the most of it. In just his second ever start against the Chicago Bulls, the 24-year-old rookie put up a triple-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. In his first ever game at Madison Square Garden, he took charge with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. And with Giannis Antetokounmpo absent against the Wizards, Brogdon stepped up and delivered a season-high 22 points with 5 assists and 3 steals in a losing effort.
In his six games as a starter, Brogdon has put up 13.7 points – he’s scored in double-figures in all six of those games – with 4.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists. With all due respect to Delly, he doesn’t have the type of status that warrants an automatic return to his starting job. Brogdon earned that spot with his brilliant play, and he deserves to keep it.
Brogdon's a Better Fit
The Bucks signed Matthew Dellavedova to a 4-year, $38.4 million deal because he seemed like the ideal “point guard” they needed alongside the Greek Freak, who was set to take over as the team’s primary playmaker. Instead of a big-time scorer or playmaker, the Bucks needed a good defender, particularly against opposing point guards, and a good shooter who could space the floor for Giannis and co.
Delly ticked those boxes and looked like a very good fit. His reputation as a dogged defender during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers was well-earned. Meanwhile, he shot close to 41 percent from beyond the arc in his last two years there.
However, his shot hasn’t traveled to Milwaukee. Could it be because he no longer has LeBron James sending him perfect passes to shoot wide-open 3s? Perhaps. In his first 30 games as a Buck, Delly is shooting just 38 percent from the field, and 33 percent from beyond the arc. That’s not good enough.
On the flipside, Brogdon’s shooting numbers (44.5% FGs, 40.8% 3-PFGs) have been much better. He brings a lot more to the table than Delly on offense, where he’s a more accomplished player. And at 6-5, he has the size and length that fits Jason Kidd’s preferred defensive lineup, where players can simply switch on just about anyone.
The bottomline is that Brogdon has played the role asked of a Bucks point guard much better than Delly, and it’d be foolish to change things.
Delly's a Better Bench Player
Dellavedova’s shot hasn’t been good through his first 30 games in Milwaukee, and without it he loses a large chunk of his value to the team. However, he’s still a capable playmaker and a rugged, relentless defender who can energize a team with his effort.
That sounds more like the description for a back-up point guard, and Delly has proven he can do that role pretty well. He’ll have his ups and downs, but he can be that spark a team needs when it’s in a bit of a funk. He’s not the solid, consistent performer that a starter should ideally be – and what Brogdon has been.
Thirty games should be a large enough sample size to show that Delly isn’t suited to a starting role, which is OK. There’s a much larger sample size that shows he’s very good as a reserve. And while he might not maximize the value of his contract in that role, Kidd needs to do what puts his players in the best position to succeed, and for Delly that means coming off the bench with Brogdon starting and taking up majority of the minutes at the point for the Bucks.
What moves do you think the Bucks should make? Let us know in the comments!