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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Miles Bridges

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Miles Bridges

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
Age: 20
Height: 6-6 3/4
Weight: 220
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.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

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Gilbert Arenas set to return to D.C. in June as part of the BIG3

Gilbert Arenas set to return to D.C. in June as part of the BIG3

Any Wizards fans looking to watch professional basketball over the summer should circle July 11 on their calendar.

Former Wizards star Gilbert Arenas returns to Capital One Arena on that Saturday, as part of the Enemies of the BIG3.

The BIG3 announced their schedule for the 2020 schedule on Wednesday, and all 12 teams will play in Washington, D.C. during the third week of the season.

Arenas, who joined the league last year as a member of the Enemies squad, did not play in the nation's capital last season. The Enemies did not make playoffs in their first season of the BIG3.

Other former Wizards players in the BIG3 include Rashard Lewis, Drew Gooden, DeShawn Stevenson, and Mike Bibby among others.

The fourth season of the BIG3 kicks off June 20 in Memphis, Tenn.

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GM Tommy Sheppard so far proving he is good at exactly what Wizards need

GM Tommy Sheppard so far proving he is good at exactly what Wizards need

There is an argument, and I've made it before, that John Wall's contract and injury situation combine for one of the biggest roster-building obstacles in NBA history. Never before has a player making as much money as he is suffered an injury as serious as his ruptured left Achilles. He takes up 35% of the salary cap, is not playing this season and has no guarantees of returning to his All-Star form once he comes back.

Even if Wall does return to his prime form, and there's reason to be hopeful he can, his contract includes a lot of money for the Wizards to work around. And that has created a scenario where making small moves count matter even more than they otherwise would.

The Wizards have to maximize all of their other resources, much like the Brooklyn Nets did when they ultimately overcame the disastrous 2014 trade with the Boston Celtics that left them paying a debt of high first-round picks for years. Brooklyn worked around their draft pick blackhole by hitting on late-round selections plus minor signings and trades. And they built a foundation along the way that made them surprising heavyweights in free agency. 

The Wizards have plenty of work to do, but first-year general manager Tommy Sheppard is already proving his worth in peripheral transactions, the types that turned the Nets around. They may be less-heralded acquisitions, but they can also become major separators between GMs.

Sheppard has been running the Wizards front office for less than a calendar year, yet he already has an impressive list of marginal moves. Just recently he turned Isaiah Thomas, who was a glaring detriment on the defensive end, into Jerome Robinson, the 13th overall pick just 20 months ago.

Last offseason, his first as GM, he flipped Aaron White, a former second-round pick who was stashed in Europe, for Davis Bertans, who has become one of the best shooters in the NBA. He also turned cap space into Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga, two guys with intriguing potential. Wagner, in particular, has emerged as a building block.

There are other minor moves Sheppard has made that stand out as good ones. He may have found something in Garrison Mathews, a rookie on a two-way deal who can light it up from three. Anzejs Pasecniks and Gary Payton II have been nice surprises as end-of-the-roster guys. And signing Ish Smith for less money instead of retaining Tomas Satoransky has proven to be a smart decision.

Sheppard continues to nail the smaller moves but he has also hit on some of the bigger ones. He drafted Rui Hachimura ninth overall in June and he has exceeded expectations thus far. Sheppard also re-signed Bradley Beal to a contract extension in October, a move few saw coming.

What will ultimately write the story of Sheppard's tenure as GM are decisions even bigger than those. There will also be some level of luck between the draft lottery, injuries and other factors.

But the best signs for what the Wizards should hope they get from Sheppard are already there. They need someone who can maximize all roster-building opportunities and work within the tight space of their remaining salary cap.

So far, Sheppard has done just that.