Malcolm Brogdon is the key for the Indiana Pacers this season

Indiana Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon - Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon - Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Malcolm Brogdon has been solid in his first two seasons with the Indiana Pacers but now the pressure is on him to help lead them back to the playoffs. With a ton of talent around him, Brogdon has to stay healthy and play at a high level after an offseason full of trade rumors.

The Pacers have the players to be a threat in the Eastern Conference but they have to improve defensively and need somebody to step up as the leader. Brogdon, the team’s starting point guard and borderline All-Star last season, is in the perfect position to do exactly that.

Malcolm Brogdon is the key for the Indiana Pacers

There was a bit of speculation this summer that the Pacers would trade Brogdon for another point guard after yet another coaching change. The big trade, of course, was Ben Simmons being sent to Indiana in exchange for Brogdon and more but that has not come to fruition with the season just around the corner.

With the Pacers tipping off their season in less than a week, it appears as though Brogdon will be the starting point guard once again in 2021-22. That is good news for a Pacers team that wants to improve on last year’s disappointing finish.

Brogdon finished last season with a staggering 21.2 points per game while shooting 38.8 percent from three-point range. Getting T.J. Warren back at some point this season should benefit everyone on offense but Brogdon did an excellent job of managing the load without Warren last season.

If he can repeat that performance this season, the Pacers will be in good hands until they get back to full strength. Of course, Brogdon himself will need to stay healthy. He played 34.5 minutes per game last season but has not been able to stay healthy for an entire season since his rookie year.

He has not played in more than 56 games for the Pacers yet, although both of his seasons in Indiana have been shorter than the typical 82-game schedule. Will he be available for the majority of games this season or will he continue to miss important time?

Indiana needs stability across the roster. The last few years, and even already this year, have been decimated by injury. Brogdon has to make his impact on the court this season or else it will be another long, disappointing season for the Pacers.

The start of last season was an impressive one for Brogdon and the Pacers. Brogdon was in the running to be an All-Star selection but missed out due to the deep talent in the East. He can get back into the mix this season but it will still be tough.

As the leader of this team, the Pacers have to have early-season success if Brogdon stands any chance of being an All-Star as Domantas Sabonis is likely the first option to make the team. To get a second All-Star, Indiana has to be a good team that gets some national attention.

I have not been the biggest advocate for Brogdon, mostly due to his injury concerns and the timing of his absences over the past two seasons. He seems to wear down over the season, which is understandable, but the Pacers cannot afford to lose him again in 2021-22.

The success of this team revolves around their stability at point guard. If Brogdon plays near an All-Star level for most of the season, Indiana will be a playoff team. If not, the Pacers will be back in the lottery looking for someone to replace him moving forward.

This season comes down to health and stability. Malcolm Brogdon is a major factor for each of those as he enters his third season with the franchise.