Mikal Bridges will enter Thursday’s NBA Draft as a valuable defensive commodity, but he certainly boasts offensive prowess as well. He proved this during his final year with Villanova while putting up 17.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 51% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc. His tremendous efficiency helped him maintain a phenomenal 65% True Shooting Percentage, marking him as the most efficient small forward in the Big East.
The main reason behind that extremely solid TS% is due to how superb he is as a perimeter shooter. His 43% three-point percentage helped him become the best shooter in his conference behind Marquette’s Sam Hauser and Georgetown’s Marcus Derrickson.
Over the course of his collegiate career, Bridges made huge improvements after shooting 30% from beyond the arc on just 1.9 perimeter attempts per game as a redshirt freshman.
The clip below is a great example of how smooth and effortless his approach as a shooter actually is. After maneuvering his way to the center of the perimeter, Bridges reaches his destination with a small little hop which allows him to get in position quicker than if he did a 1-2 step. His technique works to perfection as his body is ready to shoot from the millisecond he retrieves the pass. Within a blink of an eye of receiving the pass, he can dip his body low to get the power before shooting the shot with a high release point.
Although his hop step is the common tool to get into the shooting stroke, Bridges can also utilize a -12 step to get in position, if that’s necessary for the given situation. No matter what method he utilizes, the NBA Draft prospect is able to show his real knack as a perimeter shooter.
Bridges’ great stroke carries over when we make our way to inside the 3-point line as he’s pretty solid as a mid-range shooter. Similar to that perimeter work, a lot of his mid-range work comes through catch-and-shoot due to how Villanova’s offense is centered around heavy off-ball movement. However, he can create his own shooting opportunities thanks to some solid dribble moves or head fakes. Although he doesn’t have the most lethal handles, they’re good enough for him to create separation and put up shots from inside the perimeter.
Before he stood out as one of the best perimeter shooters in college basketball, Bridges’ best skill on the offensive end dealt with his athleticism and knack as an on-ball cutter.
Bridges is a solid on-ball driver that has a pretty quick 1st step and can work his way to the rim with either hand. After he’s able to get around that initial defender, he does a nice job of finishing around the rim, whether there’s a player in his way or not. If there’s a man in his way, he can either use his strong 210 pound frame to power his way through or just finesse himself through that traffic for one of these pretty layups.
However, if there isn’t anyone in his way, Bridges can entertain the masses with a jaw-dropping slam.
The final part of Bridges’ offense game that’s currently noteworthy would be his work on the offensive glass. During his junior season, he averaged 1.4 offensive boards, good for third among small forwards in the Big East. Most of his success in that area is primarily due to how hard he works as he seems to have an unquestionable desire to retrieve the ball no matter what.
Will Mikal Bridges be regarded as a defense-first player when he makes his way to the NBA? Probably. However, there’s so much from him to appreciate on offensive end, as his standout perimeter shooting and solid on-ball driving skills are traits that will translate well when he makes his way to the NBA.