Suns’ Mikal Bridges Approaching Kevin Durant Territory with Offense

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

It feels like a sequel to Groundhog Day is playing out in The Valley right now. Day after day, night after night, the same thing keeps happening to the Phoenix Suns: winning basketball games.

Even Phoenix’s last two games came against the same opponent—the always competitive Dallas Mavericks. But last night, just like the game before it, and the ten others before that one, the Suns walked away with a victory. It extended their win streak to 11 games, making it their longest since the 2006-07 season.

Unlike Bill Murray though, one Phoenix player has quickly learned how to benefit from this apparent time lapse currently engulfing his team. Playing arguably the best basketball of his career, Mikal Bridges find himself putting up all-league efficiency numbers, ones which even belong in Kevin Durant‘s company

To be clear, the Slim Reaper is still in a class of his own when it comes to offensive efficiency, currently averaging 28.6 points per game with a 66.6 true shooting percentage. But Bridges absolutely looks like a “mini” version of him right now.

Bridges currently averages 14.1 points per game with a 64.4 true shooting percentage—making him and Durant the only small forwards to score that many points at such a high rate. Jimmy Butler is the next closest, who right now averages 24.8 points per game on 63.4 true shooting.

Now, a glaring disparity between Durant and Bridges still exists with regard to scoring output. KD still averages 14.5 more points per game than Bridges, making his slightly better efficiency marks exponentially more impressive. One could say the same about Butler even with his lower true shooting percentage, as he averages far more points per game than Bridges as well.

More than anything, this lesser scoring from Bridges keeps him outside the “top small forward” discussion. But at the same time, there is more to it than that.

Durant and Butler both embody top offensive options for their teams, leading to far more scoring opportunities. But for Bridges, he plays with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, who all average more field goal attempts per game than Bridges.

Playing with such talent is a luxury, so Bridges cannot just start throwing up shots like a mad man. However, Phoenix’s lacking dependence on him compared to Brooklyn’s with Durant or Miami’s with Butler more accurately explains his drop off when it comes to points per game, rather than anything else.

With this acknowledged, the way Bridges chips at Durant’s heels when it comes to true shooting, combined with his still decent scoring despite his situation still deserves our recognition.

Next. Alex Caruso Throws Shade at Phoenix's Finals Run. dark

Last year, Durant’s Nets became the only team to sweep the Suns, setting these two teams up for a highly competitive—efficient game once they meet this season. Fans will not need to wait much longer though, as Brooklyn hosts the Suns a week from today.