NBA Analyst: I Love Mikal Bridges

Drafted by Philadelphia and traded to Phoenix, the Villanova product could be a stud for the Suns

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 22, 2018 - 8:53 am

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The Phoenix Suns had quite an NBA Draft, selecting DeAndre Ayton No. 1 overall and trading for Mikal Bridges, who was taken 10th overall by Philadelphia. The Suns traded Zhaire Smith and a 2021 first-round pick for for the former Villanova star.

Thoughts?

“It’s interesting. I think the Bridges trade will ultimately be defined by what happens with that unprotected 2021 pick thy sent Philadelphia’s way and then how Zhaire Smith develops because he’s really a boom-or-bust project,” CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But Bridges, I love. To me, he was higher on my board than even 10. I thought if Philadelphia would have kept him, that would have been a solid, nice pick for them, but they end up doing a sort of bold move with that trade.”

Bridges, who turns 22 in August, was a key piece on a Villanova squad that won national championships in 2016 and 2018. He averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds last season while shooting 59.3 percent from the floor, including 43.5 percent from three.

Seems like the kind of player who could fit in with Ayton and Devin Booker, no?

“I think Bridges will fit just fine,” Herbert said. “He’s the kind of guy that can play in almost any system, he can guard multiple positions, he has a really beautiful shot – he’s developed a lot over the last two years. I don’t buy into the fact that just because he’s 22 that he just is who he is. He can add more playmaking to is game over the next few years, and even if right now he is a strictly 3-and-D player, I think he will make the game easier for a guy like Devin Booker, for a guy like DeAndre Ayton. Josh Jackson is not much of a shooter, and you you need shooters in that lineup – and Bridges certainly is that.”

The Suns went 21-61 last season but have an incredibly young roster. Ayton, who starred at Arizona, turns 20 in July, and Booker, who averaged 24.9 points last season, is only 21.