Phoenix Suns: Ranking Each Member of the Young Core by Ceiling

Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Michael Wyke/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns. Mandatory Credit: Michael Wyke/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Young Core Ranked by Ceiling: Mikal Bridges

Mikal Bridges started every single game for the Phoenix Suns last year, fully embracing his responsibility to the team. Playing exactly to Phoenix’s design when they moved up to draft him shorty after Ayton, he embodies the perfect wing-stopper to throw out beside offensive-minded weapons like Devin Booker and Chris Paul.

Across all these prospects though, Bridges experienced the biggest jump last year. His scoring rose by 4.4 points per game, his 3-point efficiency rose by 6.4 percentage points, as did his overall shooting efficiency by 3.3 percentage points. He clearly re-discovered the self confidence he once carried as a two-time NCAA champion at Villanova, this time at the professional level.

But Bridges looks destined to continue soaring during the 2021-22 season, and beyond. With guard-level quickness and an absurd seven-foot-one wingspan, he fills out the ideal defensive frame for a wing player. Blessed with these tools, he should only continue to develop at the defensive end as he builds on his instincts with more experience, potentially one day earning NBA All-Defensive First Team honors.

Also over the last few years, the 3-point shot has also aged like fine wine for most NBA players. Having considered this alongside what the Phoenix coaching staff apparently already did for Cameron Payne (+12.0 3P% since joining PHX), watch for Bridges to become an even more lethal threat from outside.

Very few players across the entire NBA possess a higher ceiling than Bridges, who looks like a young Paul George right now.