Mikal Bridges – Villanova
CPP Big Board Ranking: #9 Overall (#2 SG/#2 SF)
Weight: 200 lbs
Age/Birthday: 21 (8/30/96)
Hometown: Malvern, PA
High School: Great Valley High School
(Grant Kobrin – 5/5/18)
Mikal Bridges was an underrated high school prospect and ended up at Villanova, which was the biggest program to recruit him. At the conclusion of his third year for Villanova, Bridges finds himself as a two-time national champion and a very likely top-10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Mikal Bridges was more of a role player his first two seasons at Nova, but really had a breakout year this season, averaging just under 18 points per contest in the shortened college game. Mikal Bridges proved to a perfect match for player of the year, Jalen Brunson, where he was able to thrive as a two-way player on the wing. Two-way players, and more specifically “3-And-D” players: players who excel on the defensive end and are lethal shooters on the offensive end, have a higher value than ever before in today’s NBA game. Mikal Bridges has the potential to be an excellent “3-And-D” player in the NBA, which is why his draft stock is so high right now. I will go into more depth on this later in this scouting report, but Mikal Bridges is one of the safest players in this year’s draft class and currently has a higher draft stock than he has ever had before. Mikal Bridges has turned into a very solid prospect in the past few years, and it will be interesting to see how his development will continue at the NBA level.
Mikal Bridges is a very versatile players. He played mostly small forward in college because Villanova had an abundance of guards with Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth, Donte DiVincenzo, and Collin Gillespie all receiving considerable playing time. But he is definitely capable of playing significant minutes at the shooting guard position at the NBA level. Mikal Bridges is the classic example of a “3-And-D” player, because he makes a significant impact on the defensive end, and is a knockdown shooter from the three point line. Mikal Bridges is a lock-down player on the defensive end of the court, but still has room to improve further in that area of his game. He is quick laterally, is aggressive- but plays smart on defense, and has great length with a 7’0’’ wingspan. Mikal Bridges has the talent and athleticism that could make him one of the best defenders at the NBA level. On offense, Bridges was one of the best shooters in college basketball this past season shooting above 43% from three point line, above 51% from the field, and above 85% from the free-throw line. Bridges has a pure stroke and can shoot from practically every point on the floor, and has shot the ball well from both the catch and off of the bounce. He still needs to improve on creating his shot off of the dribble though.
In terms of his other intangibles, Bridges is an exceptional athlete and is an above the rim player at the NBA level. Mikal Bridges has the potential to further utilize this portion of his game at the next level, which makes him even more of an intriguing prospect. Additionally, Bridges is a solid rebounder – both on the offensive and defensive glass, as he averaged over 5 rebounds a game, which made him the second leading rebounder on Villanova right behind Omari Spellman. Mikal Bridges has good court vision overall as well and is a very unselfish player, and I believe that this aspect of his game will be more evident at the next level. Overall, Mikal Bridges is a solid all around prospect, who excels as a “3-And-D” player and possesses all of the other intangibles to make him a productive NBA player.
Mikal Bridges’ biggest weakness is his lack of confidence in his ball-handling ability. For those of us who watched Villanova play a lot this season, Mikal Bridges would rarely ever put the ball on the floor. To his credit he did show that he can shoot off of the bounce fairly well, but he still needs to improve on his ball-handling a lot in order to really make a difference on the offensive end in the NBA. He needs to work on facing up defenders and being able to not only create his own shot, but be able to collapse the defense and get into the paint. As someone who will play a lot of shooting guard in the NBA, this is something that Bridges is really going to need to improve upon. Besides this weakness, Mikal Bridges needs to work on being more involved on the offensive end of the court and on his consistency. At times this season Bridges would seem to disappear from the action on the court, and instead would just stand outside on the perimeter and watch his teammates make plays. While Mikal Bridges may be somewhat of a role player in the NBA, he is quickly going to lose value if he is not proactively trying to get involved and create shots for himself and his teammates. In terms of consistency, Mikal Bridges to his credit put up phenomenal numbers this season, but he certainly showed inconsistency in his shooting at times, and should work to clear this up in his first few seasons in the league. Overall, Mikal Bridges only has a few weaknesses that were shown this past season at Villanova, which is why he is considered to be possibly the safest prospect in this year’s draft class.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: Danny Green/Harrison Barnes
Mikal Bridges is somewhat of a combination between Danny Green and Harrison Barnes. Danny Green is the first comparison that comes to mind just because he is one of the premiere “3-And-D” players in the league today, and is also a good overall player like Mikal Bridges. Additionally, Danny Green was undervalued for much of his college career as he ultimately was a second-round pick after four years. While Bridges may be a top prospect now, he was towards the bottom of the ESPN Top 100 recruits for his high school class, but ultimately was able to prove scouts wrong at the collegiate level. The only flaw in this comparison is that Mikal Bridges is a two-position player, whereas Danny Green’s primary position is shooting guard. On the other hand, Bridges is also quite similar to Harrison Barnes. Both Bridges and Barnes are natural small forwards, are effective scorers, and are high flying athletes. However, defense has never really been a key strength for Harrison Barnes, whereas defense is one of the focal points of Mikal Bridges’ game.
Expect Mikal Bridges to be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. He is practically a lock to be selected in the lottery. Mikal Bridges as a “3-And-D” player and as a tremendous athlete with all of the intangibles, has made him arguably the safest player in this year’s draft class. This is the highest his draft stock has ever been, and his stock should continue to be on the rise as more and more teams are able to see him work out for them. Mikal Bridges has shown that he was a winner at the collegiate level – winning two national championships in three years – and ironically is most likely going to be tasked with turning around a team in the lottery who failed to make the playoffs.
Can’t get enough NBA Draft content? Check out the rest of our NBA Draft Player Profiles, along with NBA Draft Analyst Brett Siegel’s latest Big Board and Mock Draft!