With their No. 9 pick in this year's NBA Draft, rumors have been stirring that the Knicks will look for a versatile small forward to add to their young corps.
If the rumors are true, Villanova's Mikal Bridges and Michigan State's Miles Bridges should be on the Knicks' radar come the end of June. But, with similar playing styles and elite athleticism, what of the Bridges should the Knicks take?
For NBA scouting consultant Ryan Blake, Mikal edges out Miles with his ability to defend both inside and out on the perimeter.
"They're both projected as versatile 4s, small 4s, but Mikal could be more guard-forward and get his minutes defensively," he told The Post's Marc Berman. "Mikal's size is not important. He'll be a high-low defender, switching on the perimeter. On mismatches is he going to defend an Al Horford? At times maybe. You're looking at a guy who is a position-less player, but I don't like that term. I like versatility."
But Miles' presence underneath the rim has Blake favoring the Spartan product if the Knicks are looking for someone that can work around the rim.
"With Miles, he's a better defensive rebounder. He's much bigger but does he have the ability to defend the wing/quicker players? Is he a tweener or is he a swing. He's a tweener if he can't play. He's a swing if he can," Blake said. "He doesn't have the ideal length and size to play the 4, but being a freak athlete without that length, he plays bigger than his listed size."
Offensively, Mikal has made big improvements with his jumpshot, becoming one of the most efficient shooters in Villanova's championship season in 2017. He shot 30 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman, but worked hard in practice to eventually shoot 43.5 percent from three last season.
ESPN draft analyst and former college coach Fran Fraschilla says Mikal's work to get his jumpshot down pat won't fade in the NBA.
"Villanova is basketball fundamental university," Fraschilla said. "Look at Mikal's first year, 3-point shooting 30 percent and to where it is now. It's a dramatic improvement year by year. He's proven it this year, making 100 3's, so there's a reasonable assumption he'll remain an excellent outside shooter."
Miles has the ability to shoot from the outside, but his bread and butter is getting to the rim with his pure strength. He shot 53 percent in two-point field goals last season on his way to averaging 17.1 point per game.
"Miles had to play on the perimeter much more and will help his development as an NBA player. He's an explosive straight-line driver and shown the ability to play both inside and outside. He has a soft shooting touch off the catch with potential 3-point range and improved his free-throw percentage from 68 percent to 85. He's unselfish, good IQ but not a creative ballhandler."
Creating their own shots off the dribble has been the story for both Bridges in college. But both Blake and Fraschilla belives Mikal and Miles can develop that as their careers go on in the NBA.
Overall, if they were in charge of the Knicks, they both agree that Mikal with his shooting ability should be the one to play in New York.
"I would go Mikal," Blake said. "It's a more comfortable decision but it's a tough decision. Mikal has instincts to play both ends of the floor. He's a proven defender."
Fraschilla added: "It's splitting hairs. It's bottom of the second inning of their basketball careers, but there's comfort level knowing what your eyes told you all season that Mikal is a great shooter, particularly in big games and he played a lot of them."