If Joshua Harris came down and decreed the Liberty Ballers community was in charge of the Sixers draft (unlikely given the organization’s recent run-in with internet-related controversy), the team would come away with Miles Bridges. The Michigan State star was the runaway pick at #10, garnering 46% of the vote.
In real life, it’s entirely possible Bridges ends up donning a Sixers uniform. He is the headlining prospect for Philadelphia’s first major group workout Monday (a group that also includes Miami’s Lonnie Walker, SMU’s Shake Milton, Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks, Maryland’s Jared Nickens, and Baylor’s Nuni Omot).
The 8th ranked player of his high school class per ESPN, Bridges was projected as a late lottery pick last summer following his freshman season at Michigan State. Instead of taking the money and running, Bridges opted to return for his sophomore year to try and enhance his draft stock. Oddly, instead of either jumping up in the draft with improved performance, or exposing his weaknesses and sliding precipitously, Bridges will likely be selected around the same position he would have been last year.
Last season, the consensus was that Bridges was playing out of position with the Spartans as a small forward. Coach Tom Izzo started both Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson Jr., pushing Bridges down a position when the team might have been best served with Bridges at the 4 and JJJ at the 5. As a result, Bridges saw reductions in a lot of major categories from his freshman to his sophomore season, including field goal percentage (48.6% to 45.7%), rebounds (8.3 to 7.0), and blocks (1.5 to 0.8). One area he did greatly improve was at the free throw line, where Bridges raised his percentage from 68.5% to 85.3%.
At a minimum, Bridges projects as a 3-and-D player who should be able to help fill out any rotation. He shot a consistent 37.5% from behind the arc across his two collegiate seasons, displaying the ability to shoot in spot-up situations or via contested looks over defenders. Though his 6’9.5” wingspan is subpar for someone who stands over 6’6”, Bridges should still be able to defend multiple positions. He has consistently displayed a desire to compete on that end and also flashed some highlight reel blocks around the rim.
More than just a shooter offensively, the Spartans star also flaunted tremendous finishing ability at the basket. The hope is that Bridges is capable of becoming more than a role player, a possibility which lies in improving both his handle and passing ability. If he can tighten up that area of his game, Bridges has all the other tools to potentially be a star. That sort of upside typically isn’t available once you reach the double digits portion of the draft.
We’re officially entering late lottery territory, where teams are often more inclined to take a riskier big swing at a prospect. Who do you like with the #11 pick?
Who you would select at #11?
This poll is closed
Troy Brown Jr.
Liberty Ballers Community Big Board:
- Luka Dončić - PG/SG, Real Madrid
- DeAndre Ayton - C, Arizona
- Jaren Jackson Jr. - PF/C, Michigan State
- Marvin Bagley III - PF, Duke
- Michael Porter Jr. - F, Missouri
- Mo Bamba - C, Texas
- Trae Young - PG, Oklahoma
- Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
- Wendell Carter Jr., PF/C, Duke
- Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State
- To be determined