CAMDEN, N.J. — Mikal Bridges is a familiar face to the Sixers.
He won championships with the Villanova Wildcats, played high school ball locally at Great Valley High School, and his mother works in the Sixers' organization.
The team had a good idea of what it would see when the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Bridges participated in an individual workout Tuesday, and he performed to those expectations.
“In terms of the way we play pace, space, defend, I think he checks a lot of those boxes,” Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said. “His length, his quickness, his athleticism, his ability to shoot the ball, those are all things I thought he did, not only throughout his career, but he did today as well.”
After averaging 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season as a junior, Bridges is a prospect for the Sixers’ No. 10 pick. Continuing his career as an NBA player close to home would have a special meaning for the 21-year-old.
“When I was younger, my mom, my dad, my grandparents would always take me to games,” Bridges said. “It's really cool seeing what they've been doing and how well-coached they are and how hard they play, how talented they are. It would just be the perfect fit.”
Even before he took the court at the Sixers’ training complex, it was easy for Bridges to envision himself fitting in with his hometown team.
“They like to play tough and defense, defense first, and that's how I play,” Bridges said. “Also, you’ve got Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid] … I feel like a person like me can correlate them just when Ben goes in ball screens or transition that I’m that guy you can find in the corner or that’s going to cut to the basket, just move without the ball well for them. The same with Embiid. Just create space for them.”
Last season, Bridges showcased his growing potential by increasing his three-point shooting from 39.3 percent to 43.5 percent. He’s not stopping there. Bridges notes ball-handling, playmaking and shooting off the bounce as his biggest improvements since the college season ended.
Bridges’ workout included 100 three-point attempts and 1-on-1 work with Sixers coaches. His session was individualized at the request of his representation.
“I thought he did a great job,” Eversley said.