Mikal Bridges – He won’t just hang threes on the wing, cut to the end, block shots or defend on the island against the opponent’s best scorers.
After Bridges was the second Defensive Player of the Year behind the Celtics’ Marcus Smart last season, Suns coach Monty Williams wants more responsibility for Bridges and his so-called “twin,” Cam Johnson, who also starts at number four. . Jae Crowder to ever initiate the offense.
Williams wants them to handle that duty with primary ball handler Chris Paul to take the burden off him with the ball on the ground.
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“Those guys have the ability to facilitate, and I just didn’t give them a chance,” Williams said of Bridges and Johnson after the Suns’ third day of training camp Thursday.
“We’ve talked about being comfortable with an uncomfortable change. There are times when it doesn’t look good, but I think that’s where they’re growing. And hopefully as the season goes on, if we get to a place where we hit a stride and progress into the playoffs, hopefully those guys are more comfortable because we let them explore and make mistakes and figure things out. But they both have the ability to stretch the offense like that, and that part is exciting when you think about the possibilities.”
The Sun is building bridges to one of the NBA’s most complete players and potential third All-Staralongside Booker, and Paul has been one of the best players in player development since he entered the league.
When Bridges first arrived in Phoenix, he was a 21-year-old with big feet and a long wingspan that made him look like a sprawling figure running around the court.
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His physical development continues to improve, as does his scoring average (8.3 points per game as a rookie, 9.1 in year two, 13.5 in year three, 14.2 last season).
On Monday, Bridgesent entered the media room in the Suns’ new Nike Statement Edition uniform, which, through his voluptuous shoulders, defined triceps, slightly thicker legs and chest, expresses the PHX logo a bit more than it did at last year’s Media Day. he was.
He said at Friday’s practice that he has experience lifting the ball to start the offense when he was in high school. Plus, he’s a product of Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright’s college offensive system at Villanova.
“I think the biggest thing is that I grew my work ethic in college,” Bridges said. “And even on ‘Nova, we played four-out (on the perimeter), even five-out when we had Omari (Spellman) at the five, so everybody had an option where everybody can bring it and we’re all making plays.
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“It just helps now that you’re on a talented team in college and as a coach, Wright fools everything where anybody can be a playmaker.”
“I just think when you put the ball on the floor, it’s more than just dribbling,” Williams said. And I think when you get the ball on the ground, you want to be able to make plays, especially when the defense is pushing you.
“It’s like an old-school rule: if you’re being pushed full court, forget about the game, just shut up and something good will happen.”
“When you get the ball on the floor, it’s more than just dribbling.” Monty Williams is looking for Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to do more to initiate the #Suns offense this season. pic.twitter.com/MGnzQeIVhe — Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) September 29, 2022
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Ironman Bridgesis the Suns, who hasn’t missed a game in his career and played the most minutes of any player last season.
William spoke after their Game 7 loss in the West semifinals in Dallas, which likely sapped the 37-year-old Paul’s stamina by not getting the right amount of minutes.
But Williams doesn’t worry the same for Bridges. He’s only worried about working the team too hard if workhorse Bridges loses stamina and said he’ll give the team a day off if Bridges ever tells him he’s tired.
“I never thought about it. Mikal is a guy who likes to play. We did the same thing with him on days off. We blacked out the gym so he couldn’t come. I don’t know if he’s someone who can do that and step into that role, Williams said.
File:20170213 Villanova Depaul Mikal Bridges Dribbling.jpg
“He and the book play a lot of minutes. That’s who we are, that’s how efficient we were. When I look at the old school guys before all this load management stuff came in, almost all the top guys played the same. The minutes that Mikal plays and nobody he didn’t even talk about it.
Without his career numbers as the Suns’ Swiss Army Knife (11.3 ppg, 51/37/83 shooting, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 turnovers), the Suns would have the main missing link that helped fuel Orlando’s 8-0 run on the bubble in 2020, their appearance in the NBA Finals next year and their league- and franchise-best 64 wins in the 2021-22 regular season.
Bridges is usually Phoenix’s most reliable defenseman when he’s on the island to guard their opponents’ best goals or help the pace when they turn defense into offense.
Bridges also had the second-highest plus-minus average on the team at 7.02 behind Paul’s 7.08 last season and had the league’s seventh-best defensive rating (109.6). According to StatMuse, the Suns have a 111.9 defensive rating during his career and were third in that category last season behind Golden State and Boston, the teams that played in June’s Finals.
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Johnson said Thursday that he and Bridges have practiced every day at the team’s practice facility this summer, with no days off.
There are no two ways about it. Phoenix Suns Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul became the end of last season. Strike. Targeted. Tired.
Injuries gave the aging Paul time to rest during the regular season, but the intensity of the postseason, along with the opposition’s game plan to constantly attack him, ultimately led to his demise in the Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks. He enters the 2022-23 season at the age of 37 and it’s time to lighten up.
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Monty Williams, who said the summer was “longer than I wanted,” is confident the offense will get off to a creative start as it prepares for the new season. Phoenix must use their young and talented core in an attempt to get rid of CP3. This is expected to optimize his effectiveness in the long run and allow the Suns to finally win the championship that has eluded them.
Monty is hoping Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges take on more of a facilitator role this season. “Those guys have the ability to facilitate and I just didn’t give them a chance,” Monty said Thursday after practice.
Williams echoed that sentiment after the game after their loss to the 36ers, saying, “If Cam (Payne) and Mikal (Bridges) initiate the offense, we have to step it up. That takes a lot of pressure from Chris (Paul) to handle the ball. Tonight he had some catch-and-shoot situations and I think we’ll be able to grow in that environment. It’s not just Cam (Johnson) or Mikal (Bridges), Landry (Shamet) has to get used to it.
In the first pre-season game against the NBL Adelaide 36ers, we got our first taste of what it could look like for the Phoenix.
Mikal Bridges (phoenix Suns) 24 Years Old
Sure, it’s just the preseason. But now is the time to try new things and experiment with attacking formations. In turn, this will build confidence in the team so that when the show begins, they will be ready and willing to get down to business.
Mikal Bridges was extremely involved offensively during the power play against the pesky 36. He regularly attacked the cylinder, did it off the dribble and showed athleticism and poise.
Mikal looks ready to take on more responsibility. We witnessed his two-way play early in the game when he stole the ball and instead of passing the ball to Paul to facilitate a fast break, he confidently took control of possession. He finished with touches around the rim.
Bridge shot 36.9% from beyond the arc last season and was just 27.3% when the defender played “tight” coverage (within two to four feet). It’s clear he’s spent time in the studio perfecting his three-point shot and embracing the definition of a “three-D” wing player.
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There was little hesitation when you got the three points on Sunday night. Even though the defender was close, instead of being passive, he squared his shoulders and dropped a contested three.
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