On October 27, 2012 the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. With just four days until the NBA season started, both sides were left with a disagreement on the contract extension and they parted ways.
Thus giving James Harden the opportunity to take his game to another level. All he needed was his own squad to prove to the world that he was capable of being one of the best players in the game.
His MVP campaign, and deep runs into the playoffs have been successful as well as disappointing. But it has always been entertaining.
So who is the next guy to have this Harden-style rise to power?
It was Game three of the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Milwaukee Bucks were already up 2-0 in the series. As the ball tipped off in Double Overtime, the Bucks were looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
Instead, Kawhi Leonard took the reins of the series and reeled off four straight victories.
The Bucks were right there. Two or three plays away from having a chance to really win this series.
So a big change to the roster didn't seem to be necessary, especially when you're a franchise like Milwaukee. A franchise that is desperate for a championship, and will do whatever it takes to win while they have potentially the best player in their franchise history in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
They paid Eric Bledsoe last season, and then they paid Khris Middleton in the offseason. Leaving Malcolm Brogdon as the only player left to get paid on that championship caliber core.
Instead, The Milwaukee Bucks chose not to bite into the luxury tax. Choosing to stay under the salary cap, and give their team more flexibility moving forward.
But could moving forward without Malcolm Brogdon be what ultimately drives Giannis away from Milwaukee? Forcing Giannis to make a Kevin Durant-like decision to go win a championship somewhere else.
In 64 games last season, Malcolm Brogdon joined the 50-40-90 Club. Which is 50+% from the field, 40+% from the three, and 90+% from the free throw line.
Thats some real shooting numbers. Only seen by the likes of Larry Bird, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Reggie Miller.
Through ten games this season, he looks like he'll be able to reach those numbers again. His current free throw percentage is sitting an NBA high at 98%, while scoring a career high 21 points per game.
Yet it hasn't been his scoring that has helped the Indiana Pacers to a winning record without Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Damontas Sabonis for a few games. It's been his ability to share the basketball. He is currently second in the NBA in assists with 81.
When you watch this Indiana Pacers team, the first thing you notice is how hot the ball is. Those guys keep it bouncing around as if the ball is smothered in hot lava. And it all starts with Malcolm Brogdon.
His passing has led to 39.8% of his teams scoring, and his scoring has attributed to 20% of the teams scoring. So nearly 60% of the team's scoring is directly attributed to Brogdon thus far. And that doesn't even contribute to the many other ways he affects the offense off ball.
Defenses can't simply leave him open on any spot on the floor because of his sharp-shooting ability. And most defenders can't handle him one-on-one because he can pull up or drive to the lane against most guards.
His size, speed, and shooting ability give him the tools he needs to turn a new page on his career.
If there are any players that have the ability and opportunity to make a leap from a star to a superstar so far this season, Malcolm Brogdon is on that short list.