CANTON, Mass. — Malcolm Brogdon has high hopes for the 2022-23 edition of the Boston Celtics, despite the offseason developments which make his July arrival feel like a lifetime ago.
Brogdon now joins the Defensive Player of the Year in Marcus Smart and Derrick White in the Celtics three-guard rotation that should cause problems for opposing teams and ballhandlers. And the seventh-year veteran is not pulling any punches regarding his expectations.
“I think we can be the best defensive backcourt in the league, for sure,” Brogdon said Monday during Celtics media day. “Offensively, I think we can be great. I think we got guys in Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum) that make the case easier for us, that take the pressure off of us on both sides of the ball. But those guys’ roles are to lead this team on offense and score the ball and to be the monsters they are. And our job as the backcourt is to make it easier for them, to defend when they need to focus on offense.”
With Ime Udoka at the helm last season, the Celtics finished the regular season with the best defensive rating in the league. Robert Williams was a key fixture in that with Boston’s versatile, switch-heavy lineup including Al Horford and Grant Williams also playing a large role. Things will be different entering the upcoming season with the defensive-minded Udoka suspended for the year due to violations of the team’s policy and Williams missing up the first two months of the season due to recent surgery on his knee. And while interim head coach Joe Mazzulla and players remain confident in what they have, it’s fair to think there might be some growing pains.
Nevertheless, Brogdon is of the belief he’ll fit in just fine with the group, especially with someone like Smart helping him shoulder the load on the defensive end.
“I think people build up a feud between us about, ‘They’re bringing in a point guard, yada-yada.’ At the end of the day, me and Marcus are going to be on the floor a lot together, playing together,” Brogdon said. “Me and Marcus have different strengths. We’re going to work really well together, and we’re both really competitive and are going to push each other and help each other.”
Brogdon and the Celtics took the floor Tuesday to kick off their training camp with the regular season starting Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers.