With Bryan Colangelo’s burner accounts scandal sucking up nearly all of the oxygen in Philadelphia, our Community Big Board has taken a backseat over the last week. It’s difficult to focus on the upcoming draft when it’s uncertain who will actually be running the draft room for the Sixers. But no more!
At #8, the majority of voters selected Villanova star Mikal Bridges, the young man many in the city hope falls to the Sixers at #10. The consensus around the 6’7” forward is that he represents a safe option as a 3-and-D wing who should be able to contribute right away at the NBA level.
Bridges improved from behind the arc during each of his three seasons at Villanova, shooting 43.5% on 6 three-point attempts per game last season. His ability to space the floor and be an effective catch-and-shoot player should enable him to slide in seamlessly to any team’s offensive scheme.
Though he didn’t receive official measurements at the NBA draft combine, Bridges reportedly sports a 7’2” wingspan, outstanding for a perimeter player. Back in Mikal’s redshirt freshman season, head coach Jay Wright placed Bridges at the top of the zone that terrorized opposing offenses on the way to the first of the school’s more recent championships. His ability to guard multiple positions was a huge factor in the team cutting down the nets once again two years later. Bridges’ versatility in possessing both the quickness to stay with guards and the length to deal with wings will prove invaluable in an increasingly positionless NBA.
The knock against taking Bridges is in the lottery would be that other players available have higher upside and superstar potential. Having redshirted a year before playing three collegiate seasons, Bridges will turn an elderly 22 years of age in August. Even at Villanova, Bridges was often content to fade into the background and let teammate Jalen Brunson control the show, causing some to question whether Bridges has an alpha dog mentality. He also doesn’t have an advanced repertoire in his off-the-dribble game, and we saw in Philadelphia’s playoff defeat to Boston how important it is to have a number of players capable of creating their own shot.
However, his biggest proponents will point to his huge plays down the stretch of a 25-point performance against Providence to win the Big East Tournament, or his scoring 22 points in the second half against Alabama in the NCAA Tournament. We have seen flashes of a version of Bridges that dominates the action on both ends. One team will hope that player emerges for more than short stretches. At a minimum though, Bridges should serve as a solid rotational player for years to come, with very low bust potential. Maybe he will only have to pack his bags and move 20 minutes down the Main Line.
Next up, the vote for the 9th spot. Jontay Porter has been removed from the list with his decision to return to Missouri.
Which player would you place at #9?
This poll is closed
Wendell Carter 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
- To be determined