We’ve all had those moments where we’re thinking of a particular player but can’t come up with their name immediately, but it’s rarer to see that on national television. That happened on Thursday’s First Take on ESPN, though. Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith criticized Philadelphia 76ers’ center Joel Embiid’s campaigning for NBA rookie of the year while saying it should go to Milwaukee Bucks’ guard Malcolm Brogdon…once they eventually were able to come up with his name.
Can't stop laughing at these guys saying Embiid doesn't deserve Rookie of the Year while being unable to remember the name of guy who does! pic.twitter.com/rSbn5BiJZ7
— Marshall Harris (@mharrisCSN) April 13, 2017
The argument for Brogdon over Embiid is actually a decent one; Embiid played well, but it’s hard to give a season-long award to someone who played just 31 games, and Brogdon has indeed made a strong case for rookie of the year. The Bucks’ point guard has ably transitioned to the NBA game, averaging 10.2 points, 4.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game, and perhaps most importantly, he’s dramatically improved an already-good team (Milwaukee was 4.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court). So Kellerman and Smith aren’t necessarily wrong here, but it’s definitely funny that it takes them so long to come up with the right name.
That also adds to the overlooked status of Brogdon. He did well in college at Virginia from 2011-16, earning both ACC player of the year and defensive player of the year in his final season (the first in conference history to do that), but despite strong stats, workouts and interviews, he slipped to the No. 36 pick. Despite the success he’s found, too, he’s still not necessarily a name that everyone in the NBA knows. But maybe that will start to change if he does in fact win rookie of the year. Maybe Stephen A. and Max will even talk about him again, and remember his name this time.
[Marshall Harris on Twitter]