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NBA Draft Breakdown of Mikal Bridges

David Locke

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Mikal Bridge Breakdown written and compiled by Leif Thulin

Age: 21
Position: SF
College: Villanova
Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’6”
Height w/ Shoes:6’7”
Weight: 200 lbs
Wingspan:7’2”
Standing Reach: 8’8”
Max Vertical: NA

College Statistics (2017/2018)
MPG: 32.1
PPG:17.7
RPG:5.3
ASTPG: 1.9
BLKPG:1.1
FT%: 85.1%
2-PT FG%: 59.3%
3-PT FG%: 43.5%

Comparisons: Robert Covington, Otto Porter Jr., Tony Snell, Trevor Ariza

3 Things to Know
Bridges’ shooting percentages and offensive production improved every year (22 ppg per 40 mins shooting 44 from 3 and 85 from the line), yet his main calling card remained to be his excellent defense.

With an unusual pairing of length and shooting capability, Bridges seems to have jump-started his career solely by fitting the transcendent and needed quasi-position of 3 and D that has made players like Robert Covington (1st team defense, shooting 37 % on 3’s and 85 % from the line) and Otto Porter (44% from 3 and 83% from the line) so coveted.

Bridges redshirted his freshman year and worked on his game, both growing as a player and mentally maturing, the extra maturation shining through in every game, almost always making the correct basketball play, unselfish to a fault, and served as the catalyst for the best team in the nation, not demanding star treatment which will be very appreciated by the young developing suffering from a lack of maturity.

Strengths: (via The ringer)
Competitive, unselfish, winning basketball player.
Good defender, with length needed to defend bigger opponents (height wise) and is speedy enough to stick with shifty guards. Can guard 1 through 3.
An ambidextrous finisher who attacks the rim in straight lines.
A capable post player when defended by smaller opponents, both in low and high post.
A pick and roll threat due to being a willing passer and an aggressive driver. With an improved handle, he could orchestrate the Pick and Roll.
A knockdown 3 point shooter.
Good free throw shooter.
Very good length and quickness, coupled with his shooting ability, he has a role as a prototypical 3 and D player calling his name.

Weaknesses: (via The Ringer)
Lanky upper and lower body, lacking meat may limit his versatility defensively, not allowing for him to body up against stronger power forwards even if he has the length to do so.
Lacks craftiness with the bounce, and struggles as an off the dribble shooter.
Has a small hitch in his shot which could impact his prospects as an NBA 3 point shooter. However, he improved his percentages every year.
Didn’t demonstrate the killer mentality, occasionally disappearing in games even as a featured player on an excellent team.

Summary:
Mikal Bridges physically has the tools to be an excellent 3 and D player with 6’7” height and a 7’2” wingspan as well as documented success as a spot-up shooter (44% from 3 and 85% from the line). As the NBA transitions to a speed and versatility oriented game rather than utilizing braun as often, finding a player of Bridges’ athletic ability and IQ is paramount. Bridges demonstrated on the best team in the country as a star player that he was unselfish, and a good team player, averaging 17.7 per game, yet never stopping the flow of the offense for his personal gain as a star player. In the NBA, it’s likely his role will diminish, at least initially, yet for Bridges that won’t hurt his value, but may help due to his seemingly tailor-made role in the NBA as a 3 and D player, using his two greatest assets, his defensive acumen and proficiency as a 3 point shooter to immediately help his team. In order to further his NBA career, Bridges could work to improve his handle, allowing for his plus speed and size to initiate and facilitate in the setting of a pick and roll. Bridges has very few glaring weaknesses and most of his strengths immediately translate to the NBA game, and he stands to improve his weaknesses and even his strengths with time and the dedication of time to their craft in the NBA, rather than the balance in college,. For instance, Bridges’ main impediment is his thin body, lacking the mass needed to properly battle with stronger 4’s. Like many prospects before him, Bridges will have time to bulk up and then further improve to his already impressive defensive versatility. Overall, Mikal Bridges is a uniquely talented player, with the capacity to greatly impact the game in multiple facets of the game, and he possesses a clear path forward in the NBA as a lockdown defender and capable shooter.

David Locke’s Take:  Appealing because you know exactly what you are going to get.  Bridges plays the game very smart and seems to be able to shoot.  I watched him against Texas Tech and he was an noticably inferior athlete to Zhaire Smith, one of the best athletes in the draft.  He plays the game with a sharpness, making the right cut and getting himself open.  His lack of size makes me a little concerned about hsi ability to handle things defensively.   Shooting was good at Villanova and poor in the game I watched him.  I am a little concerned that if he struggles at all with his shot he doesn’t have the dribble drive game or pick and roll game to contribute in other fashions.   The nervous part of me sees a Wesley Johnson, the excited part of me sees a Trevor Ariza.

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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