Former New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday is now a member of the Boston Celtics. On Sunday, the Portland Trail Blazers traded him for Robert Williams III, Malcolm Brogdon, and some draft capital. And now that they have Williams and Brogdon, Portland may be looking to swap them for even more picks.
What does this mean for the Pelicans? Should they go after one of those two proven players? We’ve already discussed Williams on this website, but what about Brogdon? Should the Pelicans trade for him? We analyze the argument for and against the Pelicans trading for Brogdon.
The argument for trading for Malcolm Brogdon.
A hypothetical trade package for Brogdon likely includes CJ McCollum in order to match the salaries. And that brings us to the main reason for trading for Brogdon: he’s a better version of McCollum (at this point in time).
He’s younger than McCollum (30 compared to 32), a more efficient scorer (61.5% True Shooting compared to 54.1%) on similar volume (28 points per 100 possessions compared to 28.7), and a better defender (-0.5 Defensive Estimated Plus-Minus compared to -1.2).
On top of that, he’s on a more team-friendly deal than McCollum. Brogdon is only under contract for 22.5 million dollars annually for the next two years. Meanwhile, McCollum is on the Pelicans’ books for the next three years for an average yearly salary that is nearly 11 million (33.3 million annually) more than Brogdon’s.
The argument against trading for Malcolm Brogdon.
Like we said with Williams, being healthy is a skill. And one of the reasons Boston was willing to part ways with such a talented guard (other than the fact that it landed them an even more talented guard) is that Brogdon had trouble staying healthy.
Through seven years in the NBA, Brogdon has only eclipsed the 65 games played mark twice. Recently, his health issues have gotten so worrisome that not even the Los Angeles Clippers would trade for him. The Pelicans already have enough injury problems on their hands, so why would they look to add another player with medical concerns to their roster?
The bottom line.
If you read my post on the Pelicans trying to trade for Williams, you probably think you know what my answer will be here, and you’re absolutely right.
While switching McCollum (and draft capital) for Brogdon decreases the team’s floor (because McCollum is more reliable health-wise), it increases the team’s ceiling, as Brogdon is an overall better player than McCollum (when healthy). High ceilings win championships, not high floors. And it is because of that fact that the Pelicans should attempt to trade for Brogdon (if they don’t pursue Williams instead, of course).