Earlier this month, the Philadelphia 76ers received great news, after bowing out in five games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They were awarded the No. 10 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
With the tenth pick, the Sixers could use it to draft a top college prospect or use it as a trade chip to acquire an established NBA player. If they choose to do the former, there are a few players in this year’s draft class that could help them immediately.
Currently, many mock drafts have the Sixers taking former Villanova standout forward Mikal Bridges with the tenth overall selection. It is not surprising to see Bridges’ name attached to the Sixers as he is a local kid and gives the Sixers’ a 3-and-D wing, who some believe would be an upgrade over NBA All-Defensive First Team selection Robert Covington.
However, there is another Bridges that should be on the radar of Sixers’ fans and that is sophomore Miles Bridges out of Michigan State. Miles, just like Mikal, is a 3-and-D type player and fits in today’s NBA.
Miles Bridges has been on many teams draft boards since last season as he could have declared for the draft after his freshman year. Bridges had a successful freshman campaign in 2016, averaging 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 32 minutes per game.
He also shot a ridiculous 38.9 percent from three-point range on 5.1 attempts per game and shot 48.6 percent from the field. Bridges’ athleticism and scoring ability is what intrigues many NBA teams.
Miles Bridges could’ve been a top-ten pick in last year’s draft, but decided to come back for his sophomore season. Coming back for his second year of college hoops, helped Bridges tremendously as he upped his points per game total to 17.1, assists to 2.7, and shot considerably better from the free throw line (85.3 percent).
When you turn on Bridges’ tape, there is a lot good and you see a potential fit for the Sixers.
For starters, his athleticism is out of this world as he can jump out of the gym. If picked by the Sixers, best believe he would be on the receiving end of a lot of Ben Simmons’ assists. While the dunks are impressive, his all-around offensive game is intriguing.
Unlike Covington, who Bridges would be essentially replacing in the Sixers’ lineup, he can put the ball on the floor and looks comfortable doing it. Many times this season we have seen Covington drive to the basket for a lay up and it looks awkward.
For a guy such as Bridges, it adds a dimension to his offensive game and does not allow teams to take him out of his rhythm.
On the other hand, Bridges cannot create his own shot, which was a problem for the Sixers this season. This problem reared its head against the Celtics as the Sixers could not do anything in the half court. It was either Joel Embiid or bust or pray the three-point shot starts falling.
The former Spartan forward also has good size and length to work with. At the NBA combine, he was measured at 6’5 without shoes, 6’7 with shoes, and a wingspan of 6’9.
Bridges’ size helps him when driving to the basketball, rebounding, and on defense. If you take a look at Bridges’ offensive rating this past season (ORtg) it was 118.2 and defensive rating (DRtg) of 95.5. Both numbers were an improvement from his freshman campaign.
It should be interesting to see if the Sixers take Miles Bridges if he is available at ten. He is a high-flying talent and could be an instant contributor for the Sixers next season.