76ers fans: Please stop talking about Mikal Bridges
During Game Two of the 2021 NBA Finals, Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges exploded for 27 points to lead the Suns to a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks. Following that performance in typical Philadelphia fashion, Philly fans could not get over the past. Social media, radio, television all made it a point to mention that the 76ers traded Mikal Bridges right after selecting him in the 2018 NBA Draft.
I’m sick of hearing about the Mikal Bridges trade. It has been discussed constantly since the move occurred despite all of the other things going on with the Sixers. There are so many reasons why it is pointless to always bring up the past when nothing can be done about it.
First off, Sixers fans are screaming into the void. I don’t know if they noticed, but nobody from that front office is still part of the 76ers organization. Brett Brown, Alex Rucker, Ned Cohen, and all of the Colangelo leftovers are no longer here. What good does it do to complain about your franchise when they just underwent a massive front office overhaul because of those bad moves?
The other massive takeaway from the deal that people seem to forget is that moving back to 16 helped the 76ers acquire Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers ahead of the 2019 trade deadline. Without that Miami Heat pick acquired from Phoenix, the Tobi deal isn’t getting done. And even if you had Bridges, it’s almost certain he would’ve had to been involved in the trade. While Mikal Bridges is a good player, he is nowhere near Tobias Harris.
Hindsight is 20/20, but in the moment, that trade was massive for the 76ers. Zhaire wasn’t seen as a lousy prospect. He just needed some time to develop. Meanwhile, Mikal Bridges was the opposite, a player with a high floor but a low ceiling. Also, the 2021 Heat first-round pick looked like a golden ticket into the draft lottery. Bam was unproven, while Josh Richardson was Miami’s best player.
While the Suns made the perfect selection in many eyes, they still didn’t select one of the stars on the board either. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander went 11th to the Clippers, and Michael Porter Jr. followed shortly after, going 14th to the Nuggets.
But yes, the 76ers ended up on the losing side of the trade, in a vacuum. That is the issue with so many basketball fans. Moves and decisions are always looked at in a vacuum without factoring in other events at the time. A common example would be if the 76ers drafted Kristaps Porzingis or Devin Booker over Jahlil Okafor in 2015 to pair with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. There’s a good chance the 76ers don’t have the top odds in 2016 to select Simmons with Booker or Porzingis on the roster, so why think about it?
Nobody knew at the time that Zhaire would suffer a substantial life-threatening allergic reaction that would sideline him and stunt his growth. At the same time, fans can criticize his play several seasons after the fact without it being disrespectful to what he went through.
Just let the trade go. Zhaire isn’t here anymore, and the Sixers got an All-Star level player for Mikal Bridges. I wish the Suns the best of luck in the NBA Finals, but Sixers fans, stop bringing up the past and just look towards the future for once.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports