Philadelphia 76ers: Would Mikal Bridges be a good fit at 10?

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

With the 2018 NBA Draft fast approaching, could Villanova Wildcats star Mikal Bridges be a fit with the Philadelphia 76ers at 10th overall?

It has been a crazy past few weeks for the Philadelphia 76ers. As the team prepared for one of their biggest offseasons in recent memory, shockwaves were sent through the NBA world as the story surrounding Bryan Colangelo‘s Twitter use dominated headlines.

The Sixers knew that this couldn’t be a distraction as they worked out draft prospects, so both sides mutually agreed to part ways last week and the Sixers moved on with head coach Brett Brown taking over the GM job on an interim basis.

With Brown now steering the ship, the Sixers attentions have turned to preparations for the June 21st NBA Draft. With that, comes the working out and scouting of a plethora of prospects to try and find out who will be the right guys at picks number 10 and number 26.

More from Philadelphia 76ers

There have been lots of rumors as to what the Sixers will end up doing with the 10th overall pick, from using to facilitate a Kawhi Leonard trade, to possibly trading up, or even trading back to pick up more picks on draft night.

Obviously, the simplest thing to do would be to stay put at 10 and take whoever the Sixers deem the best player available. There have been lots of players rumored to be connected to the Sixers at 10, but the one player who seems to be the most connected to the Sixers is former Villanova Wildcat and two-time national champion, Mikal Bridges.

The 76ers have shown a lot of interest in Bridges and had him at their facility on June 12th for a workout. There seems to be a strong possibility that the Malvern, PA native and former Wildcat could stay very close to home next season.

It obviously makes sense why many Sixers fans want Bridges to play his professional ball close to home. Aside from him just being a hometown hero, many fans in the 215 have gotten to watch Bridges play over the last three years and know how good of a player he has become.

After graduating from Great Valley High School in 2014, Bridges entered Villanova as a very skinny player who was raw and had a ton of potential. Though he redshirted for the 2014-15 season. Bridges focused on getting stronger and quickly took on a larger role the following season.

Over his first two seasons on the Main Line, Bridges played a large role for the Wildcats, including helping win the 2016 National Championship. In those first two seasons, he showed flashes of brilliance, but still had a ton of untapped potential.

Potential that would be tapped into this past season as he helped lead Villanova to their second national title in his three years.

Related Story: Everyone wants to be the Philadelphia 76ers’ new GM

This past season, Bridges established himself as not just one of the best small forwards in the country, but one of the best players in college basketball period. If it wasn’t for the brilliance of his teammate Jalen Brunson, Bridges might have won himself a Wooden Award as the best in the nation.

Bridges’ stellar junior season, where he averaged 17.7 points per game, saw him skyrocket up draft boards and now sees himself as a consensus lottery pick. Due to his success, and the fact that he recently graduated, Bridges decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft.

While Bridges may be one of the top prospects in the NBA draft, there is still one burning question; and is it whether he will be able to fit in with the Sixers should they select him in next week’s draft?

What Bridges brings to the table is extremely rare in this day and age. Standing at 6-foot-7 with over a 7-foot wingspan, Bridges has the size to be an elite NBA small forward. He has also been able to show he can be an elite defender as he has the size to guard almost anyone on the floor, 1-4. Also, as he adds more size, he will get even scarier as a defender.

On the offensive end of the floor, Bridges has shown the ability to make plays around the rim and knock it down from beyond the arc, shooting 51 percent from the field this past season, in addition to a very solid 44 percent from three. Both of those numbers are above average and show his ability to make plays on offense from all over the floor as an elite athlete like Bridges is.

One of the areas in which the Sixers lacked last season were guys that could create for themselves on offense. In college, Bridges has been able to show he can create his own shot, as well as create shots close to the basket by using his athleticism to get to the rim.

If the Sixers elect not to trade this pick in a deal for Kawhi, the next best option may be to take Bridges, should he be there at 10. Bridges has a ton of upside and will fit the Sixers perfectly and be able to help them right away.

Next: Philadelphia 76ers: Could Kawhi Leonard be option if LeBron James joins Spurs?

It remains to be seen whether or not Bridges will be there when the Sixers pick in next week’s draft, but one thing that should be clear: if Mikal Bridges is still on the board at 10, the Philadelphia 76ers should strongly consider keeping the local product in his backyard.