The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...
2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Miles Bridges
School: Michigan State
Position: Small forward
Height: 6-6 3/4
Wingspan: 6-9 1/2
Max vertical: N/A
2017/18 stats: 17.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.8 bpg, 45.7 FG%, 36.4 3PT% (2.1 3P/5.7 3PA), 85.3 FT%
Player comparison: Shawn Marion/Jae Crowder
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 13th, NBADraft.net 13th, Bleacher Report 11th, Sports Illustrated 10th
5 things to know:
*Bridges was a big-time college player who led the Spartans in scoring in each of his two years on campus. He played small forward and power forward and scored in a variety of ways. He knocked down threes at a high volume with a career average of 37.5 percent on 5.5 attempts per game. He was also very good at finishing on the fastbreak with the strength and leaping ability to throw down big dunks. Bridges appears to have the athleticism to succeed at the NBA level.
*Despite being only about 6-7 with shoes, Bridges thrived both as a rebounder and shot-blocker in college. He averaged 8.3 boards per game as a freshman and 1.5 blocks. Those numbers went down in his sophomore year, but he clearly has the instincts and heart to play bigger than his size. Whether he can rebound or block shots at the NBA level, however, is a completely different story.
*One of Bridges' biggest selling points is his strength. He could be seen as a tweener forward based on his height, but he has the muscle and frame to be similar to Jae Crowder of the Utah Jazz. Crowder is able to guard bigger players because of his strength and Bridges may be able to do the same.
*Most evaluators like Bridges' potential on defense, but there are questions about how his skills on offense will translate. He's not a big creator off the dribble and he wasn't the most efficient scorer in college. One thing to keep in mind, though, when people knock his size: he's the same exact height as Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Oubre is not considered undersized at the small forward position. Helping Oubre, however, is the fact his wingspan is five inches longer.
*Bridges studied journalism at Michigan State, like C.J. McCollum of the Blazers.
Fit with Wizards: If the Wizards drafted Bridges at No. 15, it would signal one of two things. Either they would be going all-in on the idea of positionless basketball and loading up on small forwards for small-ball lineups, or that would signify the eventual end of the Otto Porter and Oubre combination at the position.
Bridges could in theory co-exist with those guys in versatile lineups and perhaps that would be the plan in the short-term. But he could also represent an eventual replacement for Oubre if he walks the following summer in free agency. Bridges could fill in nicely as Porter's backup, providing much of the same defensive ability and athleticism that Oubre brings to the second unit.
The chance for Bridges to start in the near future would not be there and that has to be a consideration for the Wizards at No. 15. He probably isn't big enough to take over for Markieff Morris once his contract is up.
Bridges would help the Wizards' bench get better defensively and more athletic very quickly and offer them another high-ceiling guy that could ultimately turn into a winning lottery ticket.
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