Mikal Bridges Scouting Report
Mikal Bridges of Villanova is one of the safest picks in the lottery. His great size and length along with his shooting, athleticism, and defense provide a very intriguing prospect. Considering players with similar stats, play-styles, and measurements have found such great success in the NBA (Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler), Mikal Bridges seems to be on the right path to becoming a very strong 2-way player in the NBA. This report will detail his strengths and weaknesses displayed during his time at Villanova.
- 3&D Ability: Mikal Bridges has the drive, size, length, shooting ability, and defensive impact to fit the ideal 3&D wing at the NBA level. This role will always give him an impactful spot on any team, adding to his value. However, he is not even limited to this role due to his athleticism and developing versatility on offense.
- Shooting Ability: Bridges has improved his jump shot immensely throughout his college career at Villanova. He went from shooting just under 30% from 3 his freshman year to shooting just over 40% this year. While his shot selection could improve at times where he feels he needs to shoot the ball, he has shown the ability to shoot off-balanced and with a hand in his face from 3. His mid range and inside shots are always dangerous, as he is shooting 57% from 2.
- Defensive Impact: Although he is only averaging 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, his defensive impact is one of the best aspects of his game. Using his 7’0.5 wingspan, quick hands, and high defensive motor, he always seems to bother anyone on the offensive end, and has the quickness/length to guard the 2 and 3 spots. This combination of length, size, and quickness create a difficult player to get around. He also has quick, coordinated, and active hands that assist him on the defensive end. They also assist on the glass.
- Size & Length: Mikal stands 6’7 and has a 7’0.5 wingspan, which is the perfect size for any 2 or 3 at the NBA level. His size and length are similar to Kawhi Leonard, although Bridges could stand to put on some weigh, as Kawhi is around 30 pounds heavier.
- Offensive Potential: Bridges has been improving rapidly on the offensive end, from scoring 6.4 per game as a freshman to 9.8 points per game last year to 16.5 per game this year. He is becoming more versatile with pull ups jumpers and utilizing inside and mind range more. He shoots extremely well from 2, and needs to utilize this more in game and not fall in love with the 3. Although, his 3pt shot is improving tremendously and with time could be NBA capable. While he is an older pick, he still has lots of room to grow.
- Athleticism: Bridges possesses very fluid athleticism for his size. He moves very well with and without the ball which allows him to cut on a dime and play above the rim. He has the potential to be a Jimmy Butler-like lob target at the 2 or 3 spot due to this.
- Consistent Improvement: Every year he has been getting better and better at almost every aspect of the game. The only stats that have stayed consistent are steals per game, and turnovers.
- Elite Instincts/IQ: While his shot IQ is improving, he has a great mind for cutting and getting open for driving teammates. On the defensive end, his reads on and off the ball are excellent. His off-ball movement is excellent as well, and contributes greatly to his spot up game.
- Team Player/Understands his Role: Bridges makes hustle plays, talks down teammates if they are getting into altercations (Omari Spellman vs Xavier) and understands how to play whatever role he needs to play. While he is still learning how to be a star, he is a definite leader on the floor for his team. Those are the kind of players you want to have on any team.
- Free Throw Ability: Bridges shot 91% his sophomore year (while taking less free throws per game) and is currently sitting around 84% this year (attempting more). Not a guy you want to foul at the end of a game. This skill is a necessity in order to develop versatility and become a dangerous scorer at the next level.
- Killer Instinct: Bridges shows flashes of a killer instinct on occasion, such as posterizing two defenders and running back on defense to swat a shot out of bounds with intense emotion. However, he holds back a bit in order to play his role, which is not a true weakness, but if he ever wants to be a star at the next level then he has to let this loose while maintaining his other aspects of his game.
- Jump Shot Consistency: While shooting, he is occasionally set and occasionally takes full on jump shots. His Fg% also is very inconsistent, especially from 3. But streaky shooters have found success in the league, surely he can as well. As long as he has reliable ways to score every game, which are still developing, he should be great.
- Ball Security in the Lane: While driving the lane, Bridges needs to tighten up his handle and be stronger with the ball as it is often knocked away by a 2nd defender. This is very correctable with practice and coaching. Driving the lane is a part of his game he will need to improve if he wants to put up consistent high numbers in the NBA. He can struggle here due to this ball security ball security, but if he gets a full head of steam, good luck stopping him as he can finish well through contact as well as play well above the rim.
- Tunnel Vision in the Lane: Bridges can get tunnel vision and miss out on open teammates when driving the lane. This can be corrected, but coaches should be cautious as they would not want to diminish his killer instinct when it appears.