MIKAL BRIDGES

BIRTHDATE: 8/30/96

POSITION: Small Forward

HEIGHT: 6'7"

WEIGHT: 210 lbs

SCHOOL/ TEAM: Villanova

CLASS: Junior

STRENGTHS

Length - Good length for NBA small forward, uses length to play above the rim and to recover and contest shots on defense

Athleticism - Above average athlete with quick burst

Transition - More of a slasher than initiator but can start break and make solid decisions; very effective in transition

IQ - Understands when to attack the rim and when to flare out for spot up opportunity; good understanding when to switch on defense

Finishing - Can finish plays with either hand and catch lobs above the rim; strong finisher in traffic

Shooting - Primarily a spot up artist on perimeter; shot 39% from behind the arc ; knockdown shooter when left alone

Creating space - Good at using pivots and ball fakes to create space once he picks up his dribble

Reading defenses - Does a good job at finding soft spots when defenses shift

Energy - Good at getting after loose balls and tapping to long boards to create extra possessions; stays with play when beat on defense

Defense - Should be able to defend both wing spots as he gets stronger; stays in good help defensive position; fights through screens and stays connected

Hands - Active hands on defense without fouling

Shot blocking -  Averaged nearly 1 block per game; Also a threat for chase down blocks

Contesting shots - Very good job at contesting mid range shots and at rim when forcing spot up shooters to put the ball on the floor

Effort - Works really hard to stay with his man through off the ball action

WEAKNESSES

Average Height - Listed at 6'7"

Lacks in between game - Tries to get all the way rim if he starts his dribble in the half court which leads to tough shots and turnovers on drives

Ball handling - Does not get much separation with his handle in half court

Isolation - Rare isolation attempts end in difficult shots or turnovers

Balance - Tendency to lean/fade when pulling up off the dribble which reduces his effectiveness as a shooter; doesn't square body

Cutting - Not a particularly intuitive cutter but can occasionally recognize ball watchers and beat them back door

Screens - Rarely asked to shoot coming off screens

Pick & Roll - Not a real option in ball screens; does not see the roll man or hit shooters in the pocket; lack of effective pull up limits options in P&R

Close Outs - Can be slow to close out on spot up shooters and give up clean looks

Switches - Generally stays in good help defensive position but can get lost after multiple switches

Strength - Has solid base and works hard in post, but lacks strength to keep stronger players from getting to their spots 

Post Defense - Stronger wings and bigs can take advantage of him in the post on switches

KHAIRI AKILI - SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

 

I've always been a big fan of "plug and play" college stars who have a defined role at the NBA level. Villanova junior Mikal Bridges' numbers of 9.8 ppg and 4.6 rpg on paper will not wow you, but after a few minutes of watching film you'll see exactly why he's an NBA prospect. Blessed with NBA athleticism and arms longer than Broad Street, Bridges projects to be a 3 & D and transition finisher that compliments star players.

Bridges saw his minutes increase from 20 minutes to nearly 30 minutes per game as a sophomore where he flirted with a 50-40-90 season, the ultimate standard for shooters. As good as he was on offense, he may have had a greater impact on the defensive end where he averaged nearly a block and 2 steals per game. 

Offensively, Bridges is best at spotting up behind the arc and running the floor finishing plays in transition. Despite lacking creativity and an advanced handle, he finds a way to get to the rim off the dribble where he finishes well with both hands. His slashing isn't the prettiest and he seems a little stiff and lacking fluidity at times, but he knows exactly when to attack the basket and when to flare out to get open for 3.

On defense, Bridges has the ability to defend both wing spots and will only improve as he adds bulk to his slight 210 pound frame. His length is his greatest asset where he uses every inch of his 7 foot plus wing span to contest jump shots, alter shots at rim and chase down blocks from behind. One of the things I like most about Bridges on this end of the floor is his motor and energy. He rarely takes plays off and does a good job keeping his hands active, fighting through screens and staying connected to the ball handler. 

Going into his junior season I would love to see if Bridges spent his summer improving as mid range shooter and adding a little creativity to his offensive package. No, his role in the NBA will not be a primary scorer, but I'd like to see him add a mid range pull up, floater and improve as a pick & roll ball handler. He's already one of the best shooters in college basketball that can attack close outs, so adding anything between the rim and 3 point line will only increase his NBA stock. Other areas where I'd like to see him improve is his ball handling and shooting coming off screens. I'm not sure if the mechanics in his shot will allow him to be great coming off pin downs, but its worth a shot. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Bridges only had plays all season coming off a screen. I'm just curious to see if that was because of the offense or if its just not in his arsenal at this point in his career. 

 

RAFAEL BARLOWE - SEPTEMBER 22 , 2017

SUMMARY

Mikal Bridges offensive breakdown by the numbers: