Last year, potential top-10 pick Miles Bridges passed on the draft to return to Michigan State. It was a move that shocked everyone, but it was a chance to win a national title with Michigan State and to maybe move into the top five of this draft class. Instead, his team didn’t even make the Elite 8, and his draft stock is roughly the same as it was last year.
At the beginning of the season, when the Memphis Grizzlies went on their infamous losing streak, Miles Bridges’ name came up as a possible draft target. However, as the season continued to spiral out of control, the Grizzlies were a range above Bridges.
However, don’t mark him out as a potential trade-down candidate, as the Grizzlies could look to accumulate more assets.
Would Miles Bridges be a good fit for the Memphis Grizzlies? What are his strengths? What does he need to work on?
His game (Strengths/Weaknesses)
Miles Bridges is the elite athlete in the lottery. His athleticism essentially dictates his game. He’s great cutting to the basket and finishing above the rim. He can rebound well for a 6’7” forward — averaging 7.6 rebounds in his two-year collegiate career.
Bridges also has a high motor to compliment his athleticism, which should bode well when guarding multiple positions.
Bridges is also a fantastic scorer, as he can shoot pretty well from deep and finish at the rim. He can also shoot off the dribble, using one or two dribbles to connect on a mid-range jumper.
He improved on his playmaking, as his assist numbers went from 2.1 to 2.7. This skill is essential to be a NBA starting wing, as they’re counted on more and more for their playmaking.
Bridges’ main area of weakness is his ball-handling. It really didn’t matter much in college, as he was simply a superior athlete. However, he’ll get ripped in the pros, if he doesn’t improve on his ball-handling.
Improving on this one skill would do wonders for his game, as he’ll become a multi-dimensional threat that can shoot the 3-ball, attack the basket, and create for others.
The video above suggested Miles Bridges is “Vince Carter 2.0,” and he even had this tweet:
Bridges’ athleticism can't touch prime Vince Carter — but really whose does? He would also need to improve his shot-creating to reach Vince Carter’s level.
A more realistic ceiling for him is Rudy Gay. Both players are elite athletes that can score in multiple ways. However, they are both inconsistent defenders and OK playmakers.
If he doesn’t reach his ceiling, I don’t see how he couldn’t become a Wilson Chandler — a solid athlete from the wing position that can score and play multiple positions.
If Bridges doesn’t improve his ball-handling or playmaking skills, Jeff Green is his floor. In the right system though, that’s perfectly fine.
Fit with the Grizzlies
If the tank didn’t go as planned and they fell in the 9-12 range, Miles Bridges would be a perfect fit for the Memphis Grizzlies. He’d slide in perfectly as an explosive, athletic combo forward. In that role, he could eventually evolve into the modern-day small-ball 5 — a role we’ve seen Draymond Green and PJ Tucker thrive in.
The Grizzlies have lacked an athletic scorer from the wing since 2013, and Bridges could surely fill that hole almost right away. In addition, they would employ a promising wing trio of Miles Bridges, Dillon Brooks and Wayne Selden. It would give this team more options for small-ball lineups.
Unless the Grizzlies trade down though, Miles Bridges won’t be repping the Beale Street Blue.
Stats found on sports-reference.com.