Mikal Bridges has finally arrived

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images /

After trying to find his footing during his first year and a half with the Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges is finally coming into his own.

Traded for on draft night 2018, Mikal Bridges has been a project for the Phoenix Suns, but as of late, the 3 & D swingman has arrived.

In college, Bridges was a career 40% shooter from 3 and a superior defender. While the defense has been there since day one, Bridges only shot 33% from deep while playing in all 82 games for the Suns his rookie year.

Mikal had a tough start to his sophomore campaign, shooting only 25% from 3 during the first twenty games of the season. Bridges was having a very rough go trying to find his 3-point stroke. During that 20 game stretch, the most 3-point shots he made in a game was one, with only one game of shooting above 33%.

Throughout the next 20 games, everything seemed to slow down for Bridges, and he averaged 7.5 points with 1.5 steals on 56/32/84 shooting splits. Bridges had eight games scoring above 10 points while only starting in three games.

While his shooting has been streaky, his defense has always been there. Bridges walked away with three steals in the season opener and averages 1.5 steals per game on the season. Mikal is a pure lockdown defender. He can block shots, steal the ball, and stay in front of virtually anybody. For a very bad defensive team, he is exactly what the Phoenix Suns need.

What makes Mikal so special on the defensive end is his arms. Having a 7’1” wingspan definitely helps the young forward get it done on defense.

Recently, Bridges has been shining. In his last twelve games, he is averaging 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.9 blocks on 53/44/100 shooting. During this impressive run, Mikal has racked up give games with four steals, and has had a steal in all but two of the twelve games. The Suns do not need Bridges to score 20 points per game and grab double digit rebounds; they just need him to do a little of everything.

Suns fans have a lot to be excited about in Mikal Bridges. He has skills of Kevin Durant and Shawn Marion in his game, but does not need the ball as much. Mikal has cemented his spot in the starting lineup and in the Suns future plans.

I personally love the idea of Bridges and Oubre starting together for the long haul, adding in the consistently improving Deandre Ayton, and Devin Booker, plus whoever James Jones decides to run at point guard once Rubio’s contract is up.

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The future is bright in the Valley of the Sun.