Why Mikal Bridges is the next big thing in the NBA?
The NBA draft is a few hours away and this is one of the most versatile drafts in recent memory with the fact that many of the players in this year’s class can play multiple positions on both ends of the floor. One guy to watch out for is Villanova swing-man Mikal Bridges. This season Bridges averaged 17.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG along with 1.5 SPG and 1.1 BPG. Bridges reminds me of a better shooting Rudy Gay with his 7’2 wingspan, along with his great athleticism. Over his 3-year career at Villanova he showed he is arguably one of the best or the best wing defender in the country do to his ability to guard the 1-4 positions. He also has improved his offensive game this season by increasing his 3-point percentage from 39.3 to 43 while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. By doing so he won the Julius Irving award which is awarded to the best SF in the country, he also was named to the Third-team All-American list, First team All-Big East, and Big East Tournament MVP.
He has something that many players in this class don’t which is a winning mentality, while playing under Jay Wright he won two national championships, “I bring winning to your team,” Bridges told ESPN. “I learned about that at Villanova, what is a winning championship atmosphere and what you’ve got to do to achieve it. You have to always be locked in. Two championships in three years; not a lot of people have done that.” This mentality is very attractive to the teams he possibly will be selected by due to the fact they simply haven’t been winning they are in the lottery for a reason and need to improve their team immediately.
An area for concern for Bridges is his ability to create his shot, he needs to improve his ball-handling and quickness so he can get by defenders instead of settling for long jump shots. He also needs to get stronger if he is going to be a NBA starting small forward. If he can develop his offensive skill I believe in a few years we could see him turn into a Kawhi Leonard esque like player.