Draft day is upon us, and rumors have expectedly come with it.
A consensus may be forming on who the Sixers will pick as long as they don’t trade up. Here’s what the experts are saying:
ESPN: Mikal Bridges, Villanova guard-forward
“The 76ers have gotten great production out of JJ Redick and Marco Belinelli, but with both players approaching free agency — and their mid-30s — it makes sense to think about drafting a wing who can complement their building blocks of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
“Bridges is an easy player to slot on almost any NBA roster, thanks to his multipositional defensive versatility, 3-point shooting and role-player potential. He isn’t as gifted a shot creator as you’d like from a top-10 pick, but on this roster, he won’t need to be.”
Sports Illustrated: Mikal Bridges
There’s been talk going around that the Sixers are trying to trade up from this spot and are targeting a player in the top five, but it’s unclear which prospect they’d view as enough of a fit with their current core. Without a top executive in place calling the shots, it would be a bit of a surprise to see Philadelphia do anything drastic. If they keep the pick, one of the available wing players makes sense, with Bridges the most NBA-ready among them, a local product and a neat fit with their personnel. He doesn’t have star upside, but could certainly stand out within the right supporting role, one the Sixers can provide him with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the line. Bridges will be able to knock down open threes, play in transition and defend a variety of opponents on the perimeter.
– Jeremy Woo
CBS Sports: Mikal Bridges
I’m not sure any non-freshman helped himself more this season with NBA people than Bridges — who averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting a career-best 43.5 percent from three-point range in 32.1 minutes per game for a Villanova team that won the national title. More than anything, the 6-7 wing spent the season making “pro shots” more regularly than ever and doing most of the things any franchise would want him to do at the next level. His ability to guard multiple positions makes him somebody who could theoretically contribute to a playoff team, like the 76ers, on opening night. Bridges likely isn’t equipped to create his own scoring opportunities, at least at this point. But he’s a great catch-and-shoot prospect, perhaps the best in the draft.
– Gary Parrish
A win-now pick for a team that’s looking to win now. Plus the Villanova star gets to stay in a city that loves him for the two titles he helped win in three seasons at Villanova. The 21-year-old Bridges is an excellent athlete, a two-way stud who can make 3-pointers and make plays. He could have an immediate impact.
– Reid Forgrave
The Ringer: Mikal Bridges
[Bridges is] a prototypical 3-and-D prospect who has made over his steady progress over his three college seasons and may have untapped upside.
– Ringer staff
Bleacher Report: Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges made a big jump into the top 10 midway through the season and never turned back. Even if it’s difficult to see upside in a 21-year-old, his floor remains attractive for its reflection of a three-and-D wing and quality locker room presence.
Athletic and long (6’9 ½” wingspan), Bridges shot 43.5 percent from behind the arc while averaging 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks and guarding four positions.
And though not known for his scoring creativity, he raised his average to 17.7 points from 9.8 per game, flashing signs of one-dribble pull-ups and moves out of the post. He’s worth a top-10 pick, not only for his floor, but also the chance he blooms late like Victor Oladipo.
– Jonathan Wasserman
So, in short, Mikal Bridges to the Sixers is the favored prediction by draft analysts. But you might not want to go to bed early tonight just in case. There have been rumors that the Sixers are interested in trading up in the draft to acquire a Top 5 talent.
Interesting nugget in our @SiriusXMNBA NBA Draft special per David Griffin.
“Philly is very much looking to move up to get somebody they think will go in the top 5.”
— Tom Byrne (@1TomByrne) June 15, 2018
Trae Young buzz is louder after slaying workouts with Hawks (#3) + Bulls (#7). Young canceled a workout with Sixers, who have tried to trade up from #10. Maybe for Young? Sixers met him at the combine. Magic like Young at #6.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 18, 2018
If Trae Young is their target, a trade might be necessary. ESPN has him going No. 6 to the Orlando Magic, while The Ringer has him going No. 9 to the New York Knicks.