During Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals series between the Denver Nuggets and Bridges’ former team, the Phoenix Suns, there was a foul called on Cameron Payne that the guard vehemently disagreed with.
So much so that his plea went viral and drew a reaction from Bridges.
The Suns went on to get a much-needed victory in that game with Payne contributing 14 points, four assists, and one rebound.
Phoenix will host Denver for another critical showdown in Game 4 on May 7.
Bridges and Payne were teammates for three-plus seasons until the former was traded to Brooklyn this past season in a package along with Cameron Johnson and a handful of draft picks for Kevin Durant. This is not the first time Bridges has reacted to his former teammate’s in-game antics.
He previously sent a message after Payne knocked down a triple and did Bridges’ customary celebration.
Of course, Bridges is not just watching basketball this offseason.
Mikal Bridges Sets Offseason Goal
“Probably creating off the dribble and playmaking,” Bridges said when asked what he plans on working on this summer in a video shared to the Nets’ Twitter feed on May 5.
That is surely music to the ears of Nets general manager Sean Marks and, even more, to head coach Jacque Vaughn who expressed sentiments to that effect when asked about Bridges in a video shared by Erik Slater of Clutch Points on April 4.
“His ability to handle the basketball I think is the next thing for him,” Vaughn said. “In a lineup could he be out there and handle by himself just with other wing players around him? His ability to play pick and roll even more and be a distributor for us because he’s just gonna gain so much attention now these days. Can he be a decoy at times? And learning when to be a decoy and how to use that for the benefit of his teammates. So there’s a lot still that he can learn for sure.”
Marks was clear to not put a ceiling on what Bridges can ultimately become and, after what he showed after coming over to the Nets, there is reason to believe he can unlock this next level.
The 26-year-old averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.0 steals on 47.5% shooting from the floor, 37.6% shooting from three-point range, and 89.4% at the free-throw line in 27 appearances. But he was noticeably slowed in the postseason with the Philadelphia 76ers’ defense focused on him. Sixers star Joel Embiid pointed out as much saying that the Sixers let Bridges get “comfortable” before double-teaming him, forcing the ball out of his hands.
Improving his ability to create off the dribble for himself and set up his teammates would go a long way toward taking some of that pressure to score off of him.
Mikal Bridges Shouts Out MLB Star
Bridges is an avid Philadelphia Phillies fan, making no secret of his rooting interest in his hometown team. He has previously given a shoutout to Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and, more recently, sent one to Bryce Harper.
Harper hit his first home run of the 2023 season, likely prompting the tweet.
Bridges would go on to reiterate his stance on Realmuto being the best catcher in baseball, or “BCIB”, in a tweet on May 7 again showing some ties never sever no matter where you are.