All About Miles Bridges
The Michigan State sophomore was the biggest surprise last spring when he decided to return to school. Now, he is a favorite to be player of the year in college basketball.
When Miles Bridges announced he was returning to Michigan State in April, I was a name on the long list of people that was very surprised. Prior to that, he was one of my favorite NBA Draft prospects. After the surprise wore off I got really excited. Because now I get to watch another season of Miles Bridges at Michigan State. In the era of one and done players, we rarely get to see elite talent for more than just a season at the college level. And we get to see Bridges for at least two seasons? Sign me up.
Bridges game is unique. He is a 6'6" combo forward who is strong, explosive, and will dunk on you like he hates your entire family. He can switch defensively, grab rebounds, and has the ability to block shots. Going into his freshman season, shooting was a question mark. Bridges was streaky, and shot 40% from two, and 38.9% from three (Hoop-Math). Driving to the basket, and using his bounce to get to the rim leads to success for Bridges. He finished 64% of his shots at the rim last season according to Hoop-Math.
Here in the NCAA tournament against Kansas, Bridges sees the space left open in the lane, drives, adjusts in the air when his dunk attempt is contested, and is able to draw the foul. It would be nice to see him convert that chance, but the play still showcases his ability, and gets him to the free throw line. The free throw line is a place he needs to improve though. He shot just 68% from the line last season according to Hoop-Math.
Bridges will lead the charge on a Michigan State team that has a lot of expectations. It may be the most talented roster Tom Izzo has ever had. And in just about every preseason ranking, they are top three team in the country. Izzo returns plenty of talent and leadership, he has what is probably the best sophomore class in the country, and also added five star recruit Jaren Jackson Jr. and four start recruit Xavier Tillman. There are plenty of names who will need and want to get their shots. But Bridges will make the train go.
In the mid to late lottery is where I had Miles Bridges slotted prior to the NBA Draft before he decided to go back to school. With the rest of this year’s class around him, I think he is a lottery lock. Of course his game has questions. His length, and shooting consistency come to mind. But Bridges is an elite level prospect, who NBA teams will be ready to take next summer. They would have been ready to take him last summer for that matter.
But Bridges is back in East Lansing, leading a top five team into their season as a sophomore. And as a college basketball fan, I am thrilled. November 14th will be the first big test for Bridges and the Spartans. They’ll face Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago. He did this against Duke last season. I won’t be surprised if we see something like it again.
Thanks for reading. Pardon any missed typos.