Phoenix Suns: 3 Reasons Extending Mikal Bridges was the Right Move

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

Why the Phoenix Suns were Wise to Extend Mikal Bridges: He is an elite defender

Bridges was 11th in a 10 man race for NBA All-Defense honors. The reason for his snub is more based on reputation and narrative as opposed to ability.

The questionable candidates who beat him out: Philadelphia’s Matisse Thybulle (an excellent defender but only plays 20 minutes a game), Draymond Green (based on reputation at this stage in his career), and Kawhi Leonard (same reason as Green).

Reputation guys like Green and Kawhi will always get the narrative-based votes. The last spot on the second team came down to Thybulle and Bridges. Thybulle won out because the NBA has a bizarre methodology for counting votes for all-defensive teams.

Here is a side-by-side comparison between the two players.

  • Bridges received 4 first-team votes and 31 second-team votes
  • Thybulle received 3 first-team votes and 57 second-team votes

Bridges got snubbed for all-defense honors! Thybulle never should have been qualified for all-defensive honors! He only plays 20 minutes per game!

The opening game of last season proved that Bridges is an elite defender.

He constantly followed Dallas Mavericks superstar guard Luka Doncic throughout the night. While Luka may have finished with 32 points and 5 assists, Bridges made him work on every possession. His incredible length, quick feet, and impeccable timing allows him to defend any elite NBA guard.

Bridges is without question the team’s best perimeter defender.

The advanced metrics are not kind to him. He may not impress in defensive rating or defensive win shares, but those metrics do not present a full picture of his impact defensively. His advanced numbers will always be skewed negatively because he has to guard the opposing team’s best player each game.

But make no mistake about it: Mikal Bridges is one of the NBA’s best defenders, and locking him up was a great call for the Suns.