Imagine being dubbed a lottery pick for two straight seasons, even though you had the chance to come out of school as a freshman, but opted to stay for one more year to help your team possibly win a national championship.
This line of thinking perfectly describes former Michigan State Spartans forward Miles Bridges. The 21-year-old Bridges was among six players on Monday, who had the opportunity to work out for the Philadelphia 76ers at their practice facility in Camden, New Jersey.
Bridges is an intriguing prospect, who could be available for when the Sixers are on the clock with the tenth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He had a stellar sophomore season, helping the Spartans reach their first 30-win season in nine years and made the NCAA Tournament.
This past season, Bridges became a more well-rounded player and the stats backed up that claim. He averaged 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 31.4 minutes per game.
The sophomore from Flint, Michigan believes that staying at Michigan State for an extra year helped him in preparation for the NBA.
“Yeah, for sure. I’m mature on the court and off the court. I think that’s big for me going into the NBA,” Bridges said.
In addition to that, the 6-foot-7 forward also had another year to receive coaching from Naismith Hall of Famer Tom Izzo. Izzo has sent numerous players to the NBA over the years and most of them have fared well.
Bridges spoke highly about his college coach after the group workout on Monday.
“Yeah, he’s great at developing guys for the NBA. Mainly off the court, he teaches a lot of stuff, but on the court, he’s a monster, too.”
The former Michigan State Spartan also sees a similarity between Izzo and Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who was also in attendance at the workout.
“Ah, I love him; his intensity. He kind of reminds me of Coach Izzo a little bit, so it kind of makes you feel at home,” Bridges said.
Speaking of Brown, he had nothing but good things to say about Bridges and Lonnie Walker’s performances and the tremendous spirit they both brought to the workout.
“I mean, I thought they came in and had a tremendous spirit,” he said. “You saw different things athletically from them both, they made shots and we all go in there and have a debrief and talk through the things as a scouting staff and coaching staff – what did we see? But it’s obviously deeper than just looking at an hour-plus workout. There’s a lot of information that we have to digest. I thought those two guys were good today.”
Nevertheless, Bridges does not seem like he is fazed by the challenges await for him in the NBA, instead he is ready for them. For a 20-year-old, he is mature, well beyond his years.