The Michigan State Spartans have some lofty goals for the final stretch of this season. But, however it finishes, there are some NBA teams excited to get in line for a couple of Spartans stars.
The NBA Draft is still a little over four months away, however, with the best talent in college on display, experts are already trying to figure out who will go where. Both sophomore Miles Bridges and freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. are expected to get drafted somewhere in the NBA lottery, among the first 14 picks. As everyone knows, a lot can change between now and July (thanks Miles!), but here is where experts think the Spartans will be headed.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jaren Jackson Jr.
“Jackson’s two-way potential has been evident all season. He’s one of the youngest players in the class and perhaps not ready to make a big impact from day one, but has the sort of skill set that fits in safely on most teams. He can space the floor, protect the rim and occasionally switch onto wings, but is still learning to make his impact felt consistently.”
12. Log Angeles Clippers – Miles Bridges
“Bridges has taken some flak this season, but brings athleticism, toughness and some shot-making ability on the wing, with potential to become a plus 3-and-D guy in the right situation. He checks the intangible boxes the Clippers are looking for, and can ease into a role early on. Bridges’ struggles to attack off the dribble and lack of ideal measurables could be indicative of some long-term problems, but at the back end of the lottery he makes sense given the things he does do well.”
8. Chicago Bulls – Jaren Jackson Jr.
“Jackson would add versatility to Chicago, as someone who can defend other wings, space the floor, and protect the rim. The Bulls just need to stockpile talent, and Jackson is a great fit here.”
10. Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges
“Can space the floor, get out in transition, and has great experience playing big time college basketball.”
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Jaren Jackson Jr.
“While the other bigs in the 2018 class are searching for unicorn traits, Jackson’s already there. He’s shooting 44.1 percent from the college 3-point line, has a history of shooting success from high school and blocks nearly 6.0 shots per 40 minutes. At 6-11 with excellent defensive instincts and lateral mobility, he could top out as one of the best defensive players in the NBA at some point during his career. That should suffice.”
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Miles Bridges
“The Sixers appear to have already found their franchise cornerstones, so filling out the pieces around them is now the priority. Michigan State’s Bridges would give Philadelphia a (theoretically) versatile defender with the ability to create offense off the catch from the 3-point line. The 19-year-old is one of the draft’s best athletes with plenty of potential to turn into one of the best role players in the 2018 class.”
5. Chicago Bulls – Jaren Jackson Jr.
“Jackson’s ability to space the floor (45 percent from 3; 81 percent from the line), block shots (5.7 per 40 minutes), switch on every screen and, increasingly, put the ball on the floor from the perimeter make him an ideal fit for the modern NBA.”
9. Memphis Grizzlies – Miles Bridges
“He has struggled to make the full-time transition to small forward at times for Michigan State, but he undoubtedly has potential as a two-way forward who can guard all over the floor and give you enough shooting, ballhandling and passing to get by at one of the most important positions in today’s NBA.”