Analyzing Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, and Khyri Thomas

February 1, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to watch a Big East conference game that was played between Villanova and Creighton, as this featured numerous prospects that could end up being drafted in the 2018 NBA Draft.  Villanova came in as the heavy favorites, and they ended up getting a blowout victory over Creighton, as many players played well for the Wildcats.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Villanova’s junior swingman, Mikal Bridges had a solid showing, as he helped lead his team cruise to a double-digit win over Creighton.  He played very well on offense, as he shot the ball well and showed off solid distribution skills in this game.  Bridges did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He excelled at making quick, spot up threes off the catch, and he also managed to make a corner three after running off of a curl.  Plus, he had a knack for making mid-range jumpers, as he can do so off the catch or dribble.

Also, he excelled at scoring in the post.  Bridges used a quick pivot move to score on a drop step, and he also drew free throws on a turnaround jumper another time.  He also showed an adequate ability to score on aggressive drives to the basket, but sometimes he would miss shots as he may not possess an elite first step to the hoop or have his balance on those types of shots.

He also displayed good playmaking skills.  Bridges is a very unselfish player that will get the ball to his teammates to set up numerous scores for them, and he also can pass out of the post.  He also handled the ball well in this game.  He only committed one turnover, as he threw an entry pass that ended up being intercepted.  In addition, Bridges did not collect many rebounds in this game, but he was able to collect boards on both ends of the floor.

Plus, he also showed off average at best defensive skills.  For the positives, Bridges would contest jumpers as well as a shot in the post to force misses.  However, he ended up getting beat off the dribble several times, as this would cause him to commit a foul and allow scores other times.  Sometimes, he would not quite contest the shot or get outmuscled when defending his man.  In general, Mikal Bridges played well to help lead his team to cruise to a victory over Creighton.  Bridges scored the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also passed and handled the ball well.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good value pick in the mid first round in 2018.

Villanova’s junior point guard, Jalen Brunson had a terrific showing to help lead his team to a double-digit victory over Creighton.  He played really well offensively, and he had a knack for playing a smart brand of basketball when he was on the floor.  Brunson did a great job of knocking three-point shots from beyond the arc, as he really excelled at making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also made a pull-up three.  Also, he had a knack for making pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he also managed to score on a quick cut to the hoop once.  But he did miss on a fadeaway jumper when attempting to post up on one offensive possession.

Plus, he also showed off fairly good playmaking skills.  Brunson is an unselfish player that will patiently probe the defenses to get the ball to shooters, as he can kick it to them off the dribble.  He also can throw good passes out of the post, as he can hit cutters, but he also ended up committing several turnovers.  He was called for a double dribble once when handling the basketball, he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds another time, and he also threw a lackadaisical bounce pass that ended up getting intercepted that led to fast break points on a separate occasion.

Also, Brunson did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, as he managed to leap up to get multiple defensive boards, including one time where he was able to collect one amidst a crowd, and then managed to throw it off of an opponent.  However, he displayed average at best defensive skills.  For the positives, Brunson would contest jumpers to force some misses.  But sometimes, he would be late to rotate, as he would give up too much space to his man, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.  On another play, he got beat on a cut, as his team gave up a bucket around the basket.

In summary, Jalen Brunson played very well, as he did a great job of shooting and passing the basketball to help get his team the win.  He showed a knack for making sound decisions when he was on the court, and he could end up being a solid pick for a team in the late first to the second round range on draft day.

Creighton’s 6-3 junior guard, Khyri Thomas had a fairly good game in his team’s double-digit loss to Villanova.  He shot the ball well and played unselfishly, though he also struggled with his position defense when he was on the court.  Thomas made all of his shots, and he excelled at knocking down jumpers when he was on the floor.  He made both of his threes, as he can make them off the catch, and he also managed to use a step-back move to make a pull-up, mid-range shot.  Also, he managed to score on a cut to the hoop, and he also scored on a strong drive to the hoop another time.

Plus, he played unselfishly, as he would find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  Also, he did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball, as he was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  However, he struggled with his position defense in this game.  For the positives, Thomas would poke balls away, and he also was able to deflect a pass out of bounds to almost come away with steals.

On the other hand, he tended to be late on his rotations, as he would allow opponents to score on numerous three-point shots.  Other times, he would get beat to spots to allow opponents to get scores off the dribble.  On some plays, he would have lapses, which would cause him to commit fouls or allow scores around the basket.

In general, Khyri Thomas played fairly well, as he excelled as an offensive player, especially when he would look to shoot the basketball.  He will need to be more assertive in taking shots, though.  Right now, he is an athletic combo guard that could project into a microwave scorer type of role, as he could end up being a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Creighton’s 6-3 senior combo guard, Marcus Foster put forth a fairly good performance in his team’s loss to Villanova.  He was aggressive in taking the ball to the rim, and he ended up leading his team in scoring in this game.  Foster did a very good job of scoring on strong drives to the basket.  He is a tough, physical player that has a solid first step to the hoop, and he managed to get many scores around the basket.  He can use a pump fake or hesitation moves to get past his man, and he also can score on floaters.  But every once in a while, he can be prone to missing shots in traffic.

However, he had trouble knocking down threes consistently when he was on the floor.  He was able to make an open corner three, but he missed numerous long-range jumpers on other instances.  He also displayed average at best playmaking skills.  Foster handled the ball well, but he did not look to pass often, and he ended up committing several turnovers.  On one play, he committed a charging foul on a drive, as the officials waved off the basket.  On another, he stepped out of bounds handling the ball up the court after obtaining a steal.  Foster did not grab many rebounds, but he was able to get a defensive board against Villanova.

Defensively, he looked to be above average.  For the positives, Foster did a very good job of jumping passes to obtain steals, and he also contested a three to force a miss.  However, he tended to commit fouls, as he did so on a three-point shooter that led to a four-point play, and he also committed another when defending in the post.  On a separate possession, he ended up getting beat off the dribble to allow his man to score that time.  In this game, Marcus Foster excelled as a scorer when he was on the floor, but he struggled in the other areas of this contest.  With his skill set, he could project to be in a microwave scorer type of role at the next level, as he could be a potential second round pick in 2018.

Villanova’s redshirt freshman center, Omari Spellman played fairly well in his team’s win over Creighton.  He shot the ball well, as he could excel in the NBA as a floor spacer on offense.  He shot the ball very well when he was on the court.  Spellman excelled at making open corner threes from beyond the arc, and he also used a jab step to make another three in this game.  Plus, he also managed to make a mid-range jumper off the catch.

He also played unselfishly, as he would look to find the open man on offense.  However, he struggled to get many rebounds in this game, and though he managed to get a few defensive boards, he missed out on other attempts.  On one play, a ball went off of his fingertips on an offensive rebounding attempt, though his team retained possession of the basketball that time.

He also played fairly good defense.  Spellman did a very good job of intercepting passes to collect steals, and on a couple of plays, he managed to stay in front of his man on drives to force some misses.  On the other hand, he struggled to defend opponents on jumpers, and he also would commit fouls when defending drives, as he would occasionally have trouble staying in front of his man.

In summary, Omari Spellman had a fairly good game, as he shot the ball well to space the floor for his team.  He is an intriguing prospect, as he is a smart, skilled big man that could project to be a shooting specialist in the NBA, as he could end up being a good pick for a team in the second round range whenever he decides to enter the draft.

Villanova’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Donte DiVincenzo played very well, as he excelled at knocking down jumpers and scoring on quick drives to the hoop, and he also passed the ball well.  Plus, he generally played good defense, as he jumped a pass to get a steal, and he was almost able to block a shot on a roll, though he was called for committing a foul despite appearing to get all ball that time.  In general, DiVincenzo had a strong showing in his team’s win over Creighton, and he is a skilled swingman that could end up being a second round pick for an NBA team some time down the road.

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