Future Watch: Mikal Bridges Rookie Basketball Cards, Suns
Mikal Bridges was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1996. He attended Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania. As a junior, he averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game. In his senior year, he was named First Team All Class AAAA. That year, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. ESPNU ranked him as the 82nd best player in the country. He would commit to Villanova in 2013, staying close to home.
Success with the Wildcats
Bridges redshirted in his freshman season and assisted with player scouting. In his first season as a player, he appeared in all 40 games for the Wildcats. That year, Villanova made a deep NCAA Tournament run. Bridges would be a key contributor in their Final Four win over Oklahoma. In that game, he scored 11 points. The Wildcats would go on to win the NCAA championship in a thrilling win over North Carolina. On the season, Bridges averaged 6.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game as a freshman.
Coming into his second season, Bridges was penciled in as the sixth man for the Wildcats. An injury would push him into a starting role. He would start 33 of 36 games that year. His per game averages of 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals were all improvements on his previous season’s numbers.
Bridges exploded in his junior season with Villanova, increasing his scoring average to 17.7 points per game. He started in all 40 games and was a key contributor in the team’s 2018 NCAA Tournament success. After winning his second NCAA title in three years, Bridges would declare himself eligible for the 2018 NBA draft.
On to the NBA
As a prospect, Mikal Bridges fits the mold for a modern NBA wing. He measured 6’7” with a 7’0” wingspan at the combine. He’s capable of defending four positions and can switch with ease. His defensive instincts are strong. As a sophomore, he earned Big East defensive player of the year honors. He isn’t going to be a main creator on offense, but he is a capable scorer. In his senior season he shot 43.5% from behind the arc.
On draft night, Bridges was selected by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers with the 10th overall pick. The pick seemed perfect. Along with being his home team, Bridges’ mother is the Vice President of Human Resources for the 76ers. Unfortunately, Mikal’s tenure with the team would be short lived. He was traded to the Suns on draft night.
New Core in Phoenix
One could argue that the Suns are a better fit for Bridges. Especially when it comes to his development. In Phoenix he’s played in all 65 games and is averaging 28 minutes. He may not have seen this type of run in Philadelphia. The Suns are focused on development this season, and that’s great for Bridges. In a win over the Lakers on March 2nd, he played 30 minutes and scored 12 points.
The Suns have nowhere to go but up, and Mikal Bridges is a key piece to their future success. He’s the type of player who can make an impact without the ball in his hands. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are the focal points of the Suns offense. Bridges will become the glue that keeps everything together. The Suns have a proven winner on their roster who at 22 years old, can help lead the team’s young core. He’s bound to be a fan favorite in Phoenix. His collectability will be on the rise as he continues to develop.
Villanova fans will be happy to find Bridges in his Wildcats uniform in 2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks. Look for certified autographs and his rookie cards in 2018-19 Hoops, Prizm, Absolute, Impeccable and more!
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