CANTON, Mass. — Coming off a run to the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics loaded up this offseason by acquiring veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon in a trade with the Indiana Pacers.
But now, is Boston’s backcourt too crowded, especially with Brogdon and Marcus Smart, who is the longest tenured current Celtic, seemingly have similar roles? Brogdon doesn’t buy into that theory despite it being floated out there on occasion that the two might not be a perfect match with one having to take on lesser responsibility.
But the newest member of the Celtics made it clear Monday that he fully believes him and Smart can co-exist both on and off the court.
“Marcus is one of those guys whenever I play him we always say what’s up after the game, and then since I’ve gotten here he’s been great. He’s been terrific,” Brogdon said at Celtics media day. “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. 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 said him and Smart have talked in the lead up to the season, trying to form a chemistry away from the floor that could help them once they start playing together on it.
“As far as our conversations, they’ve been great,” Brogdon said. “Talking about the identity of the team, but more so just trying to get to know each other before the basketball. That’s a lot of the times more important knowing someone before you can really get into the details of the game. I’ve enjoyed being around him.”
After averaging 19.1 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game last season with the Pacers, Brogdon comes onto his third team in his seventh NBA season with high expectations for a Celtics backcourt that doesn’t just include him and Smart. Derrick White, who Boston acquired at the trade deadline from the San Antonio Spurs last season, is another prominent guard in the regular rotation while Payton Pritchard could buy some playing time with his long-range shooting ability.
But Brogdon sees, with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year leading the way in Smart, the unit’s identity being rooted on the defensive end of the court.
“I think we can be the best defensive backcourt in the league, for sure,” Brogdon said. “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.”
Brogdon preparing for his first season with the Celtics should have been a key storyline going into the season, but that has been significantly overshadowed because of the scandal involving suspended coach Ime Udoka.
Due to that, the 29-year-old probably hasn’t heard much of the “feud” between him and Smart lately, but it’s still an interesting dynamic between the two that bears watching as the Celtics open up training camp Tuesday.
Follow along with NESN’s coverage of Celtics media day here.