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Mikal Bridges – 6’7″ Guard/Forward, Villanova University, 21 Years Old
Coming into the 2018 Draft, Mikal Bridges is predicted to be taken as a low lottery pick. A guard/forward, Bridges played three years for Villanova, resulting in two NCAA championships. He also received the 2018 Julius Erving Award, awarded to the best small forward in college basketball.
Widely considered one of the top two-way prospects in this draft class, Bridges averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game during the past season. He shot 51.4% from the field, and 43.5% from three, while also posting 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks. Bridges constant two-way presence was a major factor in Villanova securing the top seed in the 2017-18 NCAA tournament, and winning the national championship. This winning mindset combined with his skill on-court will most likely see Mikal taken within the top ten.
Mikal Bridges has strengths on both sides of the ball and is extremely versatile. He has the ability to knock down the three-point shot consistently, as well as being able to slash to the basket. His 7 foot 3 wingspan, along with his size and speed allows him to be an elite defender. He is capable of guarding multiple positions.
Coming off of a breakout season, Bridges also brings leadership, and a winning mentality. He had a usage percentage of 23.2, making him accountable for almost a quarter of Villanova team plays. He also boasts wins shares of 7.7, good for third-most in college basketball.
Bridges is an extremely efficient, shooting 51.4% from the field, 43.5% from three and 85.1% from the charity stripe. Furthermore, he had an advanced shooting percentage of 65.5%. This indicates that Mikal is already capable of being an NBA ready scorer.
As effective offensively as he is, Bridges seems to struggle with distributing the ball. He only averaged 2.2 assists per game, which isn’t ideal for a player responsible for running an offense. It’s possible that this is because of a ‘scoring mentality’, however his ability to pass must improve if he is to be an efficient NBA player.
Additionally, he struggles with drawing fouls, attempting merely 2.82 free-throws per game. again, this is an element of his game he must improve to be a high-level scorer.
Mikal Bridges is the prototypical ‘3-and-D’ player which has become so valuable in today’s NBA. With his ability to defend multiple positions, and score in a multitude of ways, there a number of NBA teams that could benefit from his impact. He has the potential to be a highly successful role-player and start, and could even be capable of All-Star appearances during his career.
NBA Player Comparison
There are several players which resemble the way Mikal Bridges plays. Players he can be compared to range from Robert Covington to Jimmy Butler and Paul George. Gritty, two-way players who use their high-level defense to establish themselves before elevating their offensive game to match. Overall, if Mikal Bridges transfers his two-way play style to the NBA, he’ll have a place in the league for years to come.
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