Saying that a player has a high floor and a low ceiling could be a bad thing. The implication is that, when you spend a draft pick on someone, you’d more or less be wasting your time trying to develop them as a player. They are they what they are, and they are who they will be over the course of their NBA career.
You can make a pretty strong case that this would be the case if an NBA team drafted Mikal Bridges, a 6’7 wing who has flown up draft boards over the course of the 2017-18 college basketball season. Bridges is a junior who stands 6’7 and boasts a nearly 7’1 wingspan. If you built a 3-and-D wing in a lab, they would, physically, look like Bridges.
But the thing that makes him so special is the fact that Bridges is an absolute killer if you give him an inch of space. He’s connecting on 44.2 percent of his threes this year, and unlike other players who specialize in hitting shots from behind the arc, Bridges is really good at making the ball go through the basket from all over the court. Bridges connects on 59.1 percent of his twos and nearly 85 percent of his free throws.
Basically, Bridges is what every NBA team dreams of out of a potential wing. Bridges doesn’t need the ball a ton, but when he is given the ball, he is going to make something happen — and seeing as how he’s 114th nationally in turnover rate, it’s probably going to be a thing that helps his squad. He may not be a superstar, but he’s going to make whichever team drafts him a lot better.
Which team is going to draft him? Let’s find out in our latest mock draft.
1. Phoenix Suns – Deandre Ayton (C, Arizona)
Don’t take the Wildcats’ loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as any kind of an indictment against Ayton. He’s still a stud, and he’s still going to be a top-2 draft pick. Seeing as how Phoenix could use a franchise center and how it has a pair of young wings in Devin Booker and Josh Jackson, taking Ayton is a no-brainer if he’s still there.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Luka Doncic (PG/SG/SF, Slovenia)
The Grizzlies have completely imploded and are in a fight for the No. 1 pick. Should that happen, there’s a legitimate debate that would happen about how Ayton fits with Marc Gasol, but instead, they’ll add Doncic to Gasol and Mike Conley to give the Grizzlies three fantastic passers in their starting lineup.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Jaren Jackson Jr. (C/PF, Michigan State)
The Hawks are in a position where they need to take the best player available. There are a bunch of players who are in that discussion now, but Jackson fills a huge need for Atlanta and has an astoundingly high ceiling. If he is able to build on his freshman campaign in East Lansing — one in which he showed the ability to drill threes, grab rebounds, and protect the rim — he’d be a wonderful compliment to John Collins.
4. Orlando Magic – Marvin Bagley III (C/PF, Duke)
Orlando just needs to stockpile talent, and at this point, there may not be a better talent on the board than Bagley. Throwing him next to Jonathan Isaac and, should he return to the team this offseason, Aaron Gordon would give Orlando a really fun frontcourt rotation. Plus Bagley is an outstanding offensive player and rebounder, two areas where the Magic need help. There is a comparison that can be made between Bagley and a young Chris Bosh.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn) – Michael Porter Jr. (PF/SF, Missouri)
Like Ayton, Porter is much better than his team’s unceremonious NCAA Tournament loss would indicate. The ultra-skilled forward would be a great fit for any team that could use some offensive punch. In Cleveland, he’d be a tremendous addition, either as a running mate for LeBron James or as a young frontcourt piece to pair with Kevin Love and Larry Nance.