The Sixers' rookie curse of the 2010s is easing up, after years of debilitating injuries and oddball afflictions stretching from Nerlens Noel to Zhaire Smith — or, at least, it seemed to be. All of a sudden, Philly product Mikal Bridges, who the Sixers drafted in 2018 and immediately flipped to the Phoenix Suns for Smith, appears to be broken.
Just like Markelle Fultz before him, Bridges is struggling to find his game at the pro level, and recent videos of a weird, mid-shot hitch beg the question: did the Sixers' curse destroy Bridges' shot, too?
Take a look at this video and judge for yourself:
It’s going in, but Mikal Bridges’ hitch here is almost like a second gather in mid-stroke pic.twitter.com/ooC8rgACFp— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) January 12, 2020
How in the world does a player end up with a shot like that?
Sure, coaches like to nudge young players' shooting forms towards more replicable motions. And sure, the ball is somehow going in the hoop. But that shot simply is not what you want to see from a professional basketball player. It basically looks like two, unrelated parts of a shot, squished together to create some Frankenstein form. It's definitely bad.
For reference, this is what Bridges' shot looked like when he played at Villanova:
Sure, Bridges had a "slightly unorthodox" shot in college, in that it wasn't perfectly center when he went up with the ball, but it worked in games. He shot 43.5 percent from three-point range his final year at Villanova on a whopping six attempts per game.
This season, his second year in the NBA, Bridges is shooting a paltry 29.7 percent from deep after shooting 33.5 percent as a rookie.
There's obviously an adjustment period, going from the college three-point line to the professional three, but Bridges is trending the wrong way, and now his shot looks like ... that. No one is safe.
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