Philadelphia 76ers Keep Mikal Bridges in 2018 NBA Re-Draft
With the NBA's 2019-2020 season suspended, and the 2020 NBA Draft likely to be pushed back a few months, it has officially turned into re-draft season. We can't change anything about the past, but it's always interesting to look back and see how teams fared with their former draft picks years later.
Recently, Bleacher Report continued its series of re-drafts by analyzing and redoing the 2018 NBA Draft. That year, the Philadelphia 76ers entered the process without an official General Manager in the front office.
After mutually agreeing with Bryan Colangelo's decision to step down after the infamous burner-gate, the Sixers decided to allow the team's head coach Brett Brown to take over for the time being. Later on down the line, the team hired Elton Brand as the GM, but the former NBA All-Star wasn't in office yet during the '18 draft.
That year, the 76ers had the No. 10 pick in the draft. With their pick, Philly selected Villanova forward, Mikal Bridges. For what felt like five minutes, the city of Philadelphia was on a high. Bridges, whose mother worked for the team, was continuing his basketball career in the same town he was born. He was a Philly guy already, and the fan base was excited. Unfortunately, the Sixers were willing to part with the former National Champion on the very same night they drafted him.
Instead of holding onto Bridges, the 76ers traded with the Phoenix Suns so they could eventually land Texas Tech guard, Zhaire Smith. So, did the 76ers get it right the first time based on the results of the re-draft? Not exactly.
According to BR's Zach Buckley, the Sixers were right the first time. "This isn't about correcting what should have been the best feel-good story of the draft," Buckley wrote. "It's an acknowledgment that Mikal Bridges' three-and-D skills were properly valued the first time around. The 23-year-old may not flash star potential, but he's solid in most spots... He contributes to winning."
Meanwhile, the Sixers chose Zhaire Smith, whose future in Philly is currently being questioned. His rookie season was a wash, mainly because he dealt with a significant injury and an illness, which kept him away from the game for a majority of the season. But Smith's sophomore effort wasn't all that promising either, though.
This season, Smith appeared in seven games for the Sixers. The second-year guard spent the majority of his time developing his game with the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League. At times, Smith has shown promise, but it's necessary to note that he's rumored to have been on the 76ers' trading block all the way up until the deadline. For the time being, Smith remains on the team. However, it's unclear if he's in the team's future plans or not. We can't say the same for Bridges in Phoenix.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_