Phoenix Suns: 3 Reasons Why They Should Start Mikal Bridges

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Bridges is One of Their Few Players That Competes

While it may sound like a cliché, saying that Mikal Bridges is one of the few players on the Suns that still looks like he is trying on defense. His effort has translated to real success when he has been on the floor.

A common reaction to the Suns signing Trevor Ariza was that he is a veteran ‘3-and-D’ wing player that will help change the team’s culture. That simply is not happening and it doesn’t look like it’s going to any time soon.

When looking back to each of Ariza’s recent stops during his NBA career, whether it has been the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, or the Los Angeles Lakers, everybody praises how he’s the hardest worker on the floor and rightfully so.

Back in May, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote a feature article about Ariza titled “Trevor Ariza is easy to miss. He shouldn’t be.” He was heralded as the only Rocket with a championship ring and a consummate ‘3-and-D’ role player with a tough as nails mentality.

The issue could very well be the fact that the Suns are too bad of a basketball team for veterans to feel like they need to care. If that’s the case, finding a landing spot for Ariza where he can compete for a winning team makes the most sense.

Let’s not forget that the 36-year-old Tyson Chandler reached a buyout agreement with the Suns and is now competing hard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Of course, it remains to be seen if he can sustain that for the duration of the season, but still.

The effort that Bridges has provided the Suns have not gone unnoticed in advanced production. As previously noted, it’s not a coincidence that he is the only regular rotation player with a positive net rating.

When taking it a step further, the results are impressive. Among all 39 of the team’s two-man combinations that have logged at least 50 minutes together, Bridges is a part of the five combinations with the top net rating.

Let’s take it even further. There are only eight two-man combinations that have a positive net rating that has played at least 50 minutes for the Suns. Bridges is involved in six of them.

It’s unlikely that Phoenix would continue to experience quite the level of success that they have had with Bridges if they played him more minutes since the supporting pieces are so bad. However, he would be a few steps in the right direction at least.

Next Up: Reason 2

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