Odds suggest Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges is well placed to make history

Although the conclusion may have been less than ideal, Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges made giant strides in an incredibly promising fourth season.

Having committed to the 25 year-old on a four-year, $90 million contract prior to last season, the Suns would have been thrilled with Bridges’ development into one of the premiere two-way wings in the league.

The defensive end is where Bridges truly announced himself, finishing top three in the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award alongside Rudy Gobert and eventual winner Marcus Smart.

Betting odds suggest Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges is well placed to make history when it comes to the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022-23.

Smart made history last season, becoming the first guard to win the award since Gary Payton in 1996. Even since that time, only two small forwards, Ron Artest and Kawhi Leonard (won twice), have also won the award.

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges

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

Looking ahead to next season and according to DraftKings Sportsbook, Bridges is the likeliest to win the award outside big men at the power-forward and center positions. Gobert, a three-time winner, is again favourite at +450, followed by Robert Williams III (+700), Bam Adebayo (+750), Draymond Green (+1100) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1400).

Bridges ranks as the sixth favourite to win the award at +1400, just edging out Smart at +1800. Those two are well clear from other potential candidates standing at 6’6″ or below, with Matisse Thybulle and Jrue Holiday equal at +3500.

Not only could Bridges join an illustrious and small group of players to have won the award at his position, but he’d also make history by becoming the first Suns player to do so in the award’s 40-year history.

Bridges defensive prowess would also extend as a good barometer for the Suns season. If he were to win the award, then it’s fair to envisage that Phoenix have again cemented themselves among the league’s elite teams.