The Philadelphia 76ers had themselves a solid draft pick during the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, the temporary front office didn’t trust its own process.
Brett Brown, who was the coach of the Sixers at the time, was issued front office duties as the Sixers suddenly parted ways with the infamous Bryan Colangelo after the 2017-2018 season concluded.
When the Sixers were on the board with the 10th overall pick of the 2018 Draft, they selected Villanova forward Mikal Bridges. It was a feel-good story, considering Bridges was born in Philadelphia and played hoops just outside the city for High School and college.
In addition, Bridges’ mom worked for the organization. However, Bridges’ time with the 76ers was short-lived. On draft night, Brown and the Sixers’ front office flipped Bridges to the Phoenix Suns in order to land Texas Tech forward Zhaire Smith and a future draft pick.
Years later, it’s clear the Sixers got the short end of the stick in that 2018 draft night trade. Smith didn’t pan out and lasted only two seasons in Philly, appearing in just 13 games. Meanwhile, Bridges turned into a full-time starter in Phoenix. He’s played in 309 games over four seasons and started in 35 playoff games.
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This past season, Bridges averaged a career-high of 14 points per game while knocking down 37-percent of his threes. In hindsight, Bridges is precisely the type of player the 76ers could use these days. Unfortunately for them, a reunion won’t be happening anytime soon.
Bridges remains a fan of all Philly sports (excluding the Sixers, probably). As he tweeted about the 76ers’ neighbor, the Philadelphia Phillies, a 76ers fan attempted to recruit Bridges via Twitter.
While Bridges was apologetic, he made it clear he’s happy in Phoenix and doesn’t want to go anywhere. Unless the Suns decide they want to move Bridges, he won’t be packing his bags anytime soon. The veteran wing inked a four-year extension back in October, worth $90 million. So, it’s safe to say he’ll be in Phoenix for a while.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
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