If the Spartans go far in this year’s tournament, it will be in large part because Bridges pushed them there.
He is Michigan State’s de facto point guard, orchestrating the heavy ball-reversal and high screen offense that coach Tom Izzo uses. Bridges plays the part beautifully, down to the package of moves he’s adopted from the very best point guards in the NBA. The sophomore has learned how to better navigate screens, drive and kick, and pull-up from deep during his second season.
The heavier offensive burden for Bridges has pushed Cassius Winston into a secondary ball-handling role, while Jeremy Langford settles into the 3-and-D role player he was destined to be. It also means Bridges carries less weight on defense, despite his incredible potential on that end at the next level. I saw a Twitter debate in which Bridges’ name was brought up as one of the best NCAA options to defend LeBron James.
Bridges is built, deceptively quick and smart on the court. His game-winner against Purdue put a cap on one of the more fun games of this college season. He may have the highest floor of anyone outside the top two prospects. We may not know his position or ideal role, but anyone with basketball intellect and crazy athleticism like Bridges would hopefully contribute positively at the next level.
In Charlotte, he would be able to earn minutes right away and become the first part of a rebuild.