Phoenix Suns set to unleash dynamic defensive duo

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

The Phoenix Suns may have been ranked second and third in defensive rating across the last two seasons, but they appear set for a boost on that end thanks to free agent signing Josh Okogie.

Mikal Bridges and Josh Okogie could provide the Phoenix Suns with the most dynamic and devastating defensive wing duo in the NBA.

Okogie is relishing the opportunity to play at a franchise where defense is prioritized; his first three seasons in Minnesota saw them rank 21st, 28th and 25th in defensive rating, before making a jump to 13th last season.

In his rookie season back in 2018-19, the best of his career to date, Okogie was second at the Timberwolves for defensive win shares, demonstrating his capacity on that end from early on in the league.

Phoenix Suns, Josh Okogie
Josh Okogie guarding Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The athletic 24-year-old already has experience playing alongside Bridges, with Okogie describing the pair’s cohesion during scrimmages over the offseason.

"“I looked at him, he looked at me and it was like yep, it’s going to be a long season for opposing offenses…Obviously we have other guys who take defense seriously, but particularly him (Bridges), knowing he does things I might be able to use…It’s cool to be able to have a bond with a guy like that.”"

How much Okogie can improve his offense will determine how much we’ll see the duo in action as the season progresses. His lack of progression on that end ultimately led to a significant reduction in minutes for the Timberwolves last season.

Okogie is a career 27.5% three-point shooter, and while Phoenix don’t prioritize perimeter shots, it’s a mark that simply won’t cut it for a wing at NBA level.

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An increase to 32-33% could be enough to warrant Okogie a regular rotation spot and 15-20 minutes per game. If that can occur, then Suns fans will enjoy watching him terrorize opposing offenses next to an established Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Bridges.