After being given the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick in the 2018 NBA Draft via trade, the Philadelphia 76ers will select 10th in the upcoming NBA draft on June 21st. With this pick comes a pivotal moment in “The Process,” as the addition of a talented young player, along with the acquisition of a star player in free-agency (such as LeBron James, Paul George, or perhaps someone of a similar caliber), could potentially catapult this team to its first championship since 1983, whose championship team possessed all-time greats such as Moses Malone and Julius Erving. In light of the upcoming NBA Draft, I have selected two very talented prospects, both who happen to have the last name Bridges, that could possibly be added to our roster this summer.
- Mikal Bridges
First up we have Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, a 6’7 21-year-old who can play both shooting guard and small forward. Growing up and playing basketball relatively close to Philadelphia in Malvern, Bridges would be a great addition to our young team. In his last season with the 2018 NCAA Champion Villanova Wildcats, Bridges averaged 17.7 points, 1.9 assists, and 5.3 rebounds on a 51.4 field goal percentage and a superb 43.5 three-point percentage. Bridges’ main strengths include his blocking (1.1 blocks per game), his field goal efficiency, his true shooting percentage (65.5%), and his low turnover rate (only 1.5 per game). While Bridges is clearly a talented player with great size (6’7 height, 7’1 wingspan) and a winning mentality, he unfortunately does have weaknesses like any other player. One weakness in particular is his very low assist average at only 1.9 assists per game. On a team that moves the ball around as much as the Sixers, this statistic is concerning. Hopefully, if the 76ers are able to take Mikal Bridges with the 10th pick, he will be able to adapt to our offense and begin to develop as a playmaker.
2. Miles Bridges
Next up we have Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, a 6’7 20-year-old who can play both small forward and power forward. As another talented prospect under esteemed Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Bridges would also be a great addition to the Sixers’ roster. In his last season with the Spartans, Bridges averaged 17.1 points, 2.7 assists, and 7 rebounds on a 45.7 field goal percentage and a 36.4 three-point percentage. Although he averaged more assists and rebounds than Mikal Bridges, his shooting percentages are significantly less impressive. Still, Miles Bridges shows promising strengths in his game such as his free-throw percentage (85.3%), his projected NBA three-point percentage, which is 38%, and his ability to stay out of foul trouble. One of Bridges’ main weaknesses presents itself in his steals average, which is a measly .6 per game. This is especially concerning as our current starting small forward, 2017-18 All-Defensive Team Member Robert Covington, was ranked 11th in the NBA in steals in the 2016-17 season. While the Sixers may not expect as much production from a bench player, Bridges’ lack of stealing prowess is still worrisome.
Personally, I don’t think the Philadelphia 76ers could go wrong with either pick, as I think both players would add a great deal of size, length, and scoring capabilities to our young Sixers team. With that being said, there are other potential prospects who the 76ers could take as well, as long as they are still on the board, such as Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., Alabama’s Collin Sexton, or Miami’s Lonnie Walker. Regardless of who the 76ers decide to select with the 10th pick of the draft, the team is in great position to make a deep playoff run next season and potentially to acquire a star player as well. In other words, just Trust the Process.
Sean Zarzatian, Underdawg Sports Writer
Pictures courtesy of AtTheHive.com and TheSportsDaily.com
Statistics courtesy of Tankathon.com