Some think Bridges was being held back by the star power in Phoenix and could have put up those numbers all along. After all, he was the fourth option after Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. But one scout said it was because Bridges played the rest of the season with a chip on his shoulder, according to Michael A. Scotto of HoopsHype.
“Between the draft and getting traded to Brooklyn, a lot of guys got more publicity than he did. Mikal might be a skinny dude with a big smile, but he’s also from Philly. Nobody holds a grudge quite like a Philly guy,” the scout said, according to Scotto.
“Mikal’s been waiting to unleash how p***** he’s been for being traded from a contending team,” the scout, according to Scotto. “Even though he said he knew why they traded him — and he would’ve traded himself for Durant too — it doesn’t change the fact that he could be p***** off about it. He’s still p***** off about the [draft night] Philly[-to-Phoenix] trade, which he’s openly said he’s still p***** at.”
Mikal Bridges Details Experience With Nets’ Front Office
Despite the sting of getting traded from a contender, Bridges ending up in Brooklyn is not the worst situation to be in. The Nets have a lot of young talented players, including Spencer Dinwiddie, Cam Thomas, and Bridges’ former Suns teammate Cam Johnson. They also have a plethora of draft picks hoarded from the Durant and Kyrie Irving trades that could be used to land Bridges a legit costar. Despite everything that transpired after his arrival, Bridges seems satisfied with the team’s ownership.
“Joe Tsai’s a nice guy. His family’s sweet. I love his wife [Clara Wu Tsai]. His kids are really cool. They’re great people, man. They love the city of Brooklyn, and they just want to do whatever it takes for the fans. They’re just great. They welcomed me with open arms, and it’s been literally ever since,” Bridges said to Scott Davies of Hoops Herald.
“Sean Marks is a really good dude. I like [him] a lot. I don’t know, you hear the whole thing about what’s going on in Brooklyn and how people don’t like this and that. But I’m just, like, these people are great. They’re great people.”
Mikal Bridges Became a Focal Point on Offense
Bridges was primarily known as a defensive stopper during his time in Phoenix. He was one of the finalists for the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. For Bridges, coming to the Nets meant transitioning into a new role that required him to be the focal point on offense.
But with his new increased role on offense, Bridges wanted to be sure that he was still elite on the defensive end, and that meant having to be in better shape than he was previously, which was a major adjustment.
“Just the stamina. And I think just being in shape. I think that’s the biggest thing, just the whole stamina aspect, especially doing what I do on the other end defensively. I think towards the end, I kind of just was lacking in it and obviously, I wasn’t happy about that. And I know coming this year that I’ll be way better and more in shape to do both,” Bridges said to Hoops Herald.
“You know, people don’t want to. Some people don’t. They only do it on one end. But that’s not the type of player I am and person I am. So just trying to be able to do it on both ends.”