No. 2: The Phoenix Suns’ Quiet Assassin Award goes to Mikal Bridges.
As we’ve talked about, Suns third-year star Mikal Bridges continues to climb the ladder toward NBA stardom. And as he continues to learn — and apply the lessons on the court — he’s basically an inspiration for sports clichés.
- The secret weapon: He’s a long, eager, young, intelligent asset who strikes at the tiny weaknesses in the opponent.
- The Swiss Army knife: Yep, we’re trotting out this one. Bridges is learning at an accelerated rate, finding that his defense keys success. He studies video like a top NFL safety, plotting and targeting weaknesses to be exploited. He can shoot, drive, pass and defend.
- The finisher: Bridges reminds some, uh, seasoned NBA observers of a player who shined in the 1980s for the Showtime Lakers. When Bridges takes a pass and targets the rim, he conjures memories of James Worthy who, when he had the ball on the fast break, could be counted on to put the exclamation point on a fast break with a layup or jam.
Bridges is scoring almost six more points per game than last season (14.9 entering Saturday). He’s posting more assists, rebounds and blocked shots while shooting almost 50 percent from 3-point range.
James Worthy, owner of a career .241 success rate from 3-point range, didn’t come close to that kind of accuracy.
If he’s a cliché then it’s the best of all worlds. Those clichés are stereotypes for a reason. Etch them in stone and count on them. Bridges will bring the defense and the finish every night.
And Suns fans are loving it.