Mikal Bridges hot start has been one of the surprises of the NBA season so far. Through 11 games, Bridges is averaging 15.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 0.5 SPG, while shooting 50.4% from the field, a scorching 45.3% from deep on 5.8 attempts per game, and 88.5% from the line. If Bridges keeps these numbers up, or relatively similar ones, he’ll be in the Most Improved Player discussion at the end of the season.
Mikal Bridges Hot Start on Offense:
The way Bridges has been scoring this season hasn’t been much different from seasons in the past. He’s not a shot creator, it’s rare you see him dribble the ball more than three times before shooting or passing. The majority of his points come from spot-ups and making a great cut to the basket for an easy layup, which compliments Chris Paul’s and Devin Booker’s game very well.
The one major improvement I’ve noticed from Bridges offensive game this season is his cutting. I think cutting is such an underrated skill. With the spacing in today’s game, and all the room that’s created in the paint, allows for a lot of opportunities for players to cut to the basket. Bridges has clearly realized that, and taken advantage of it. He’s been such a smart off ball player.
Bridges positives don’t end on the offensive end. He’s an outstanding defensive player too. I thought his defense took a step up last season from his rookie season, and so far, it looks like it has taken another step up season. He’s quick on his feet. I’d say he’s just as smart defensively as he is offensively, and his freakishly long 7”1” definitely helps. If he continues to keep improving each season defensively, I wouldn’t be surprised if, in 3-5 seasons, he’s viewed as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders.
Currently all of his defensive stats are down from last season besides his BPG. Although, I believe that just proves why you shouldn’t rely solely on a player’s defensive stats to judge their defense. If you’ve watched Bridges, and the Suns this season, you would know how well he’s looked on the defensive end of the floor.
Is Mikal Bridges play sustainable?
I believe the Bridges we’ve seen to start this season, could very well be the Bridges we see the rest of the season. Now, do I expect him to continue to shoot 45.3% from deep on 5.8 attempts per game? No that would be insane if he did, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he shoots around 40% the rest of the season, on similar attempts per game. Which is still really good. The rest of his game is very sustainable in my opinion. I don’t think he’ll wake up one day, wanting to start dribbling the air out of the ball and stop playing defense. Especially with a veteran like Chris Paul on his team.
As you can see with Mikal Bridges hot start the Suns have something special in Bridges. No, he may not ever be an all-star or average 20+ PPG, but that’s alright. All good teams need players like Bridges.
When you think of a player you would want alongside a star like Devin Booker, there aren’t many non-star players that you would take before Bridges. The two complement each other very well. To the point where I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the Suns starting wings for the next decade.