I think the reality is that while he has some skill, Ward doesn’t have a game that’s going to work in modern basketball that well. Sure, against bad teams he’ll feast, but if he can’t play in games that involve a Wagner-like big (and that’s the way the game is going), he’s never going to get on the floor against top competition. The simple fact is that if he even wants a good European career, he’s going to need to learn some new skills (like how to shoot) - I’m not sure what the market is even in Europe’s top divisions for a 6’8" fat guy who can’t score more than 5 feet from the hoop. If there is one thing we’ve learned from Izzo, it’s that he’s not going to help Ward in conditioning, and he has no incentive to help Ward diversify his skill-set (Izzo wants his bigs to play bully-ball and crash the glass, not spread the floor). Setting aside my previously stated distaste for Izzo’s ethics when it comes to things that matter (like his handling of sexual assault accusations), my largest criticism of him as a coach is that he has a habit of grinding out careers from his players that help his W/L record but do little to nothing in terms of show-casing his kids for the NBA.
Finally, on the Bridges stuff - he hasn’t harmed himself at all this year - I think the NBA’s view of him is probably about what it is last year, and he’s on the verge of making a few million a year next season. To me, he looks like a TJ Warren type in the NBA, with the hope of having better range.