Mikal Bridges

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Mikal Bridges
20170213 Villanova-Depaul Mikal Bridges on the move.jpg
Bridges with Villanova in 2017
No. 25 – Phoenix Suns
PositionSmall forward / Shooting guard
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1996-08-30) August 30, 1996 (age 24)
Malvern, Pennsylvania
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight209 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolGreat Valley
(Malvern, Pennsylvania)
CollegeVillanova (2015–2018)
NBA draft2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career2018–present
Career history
2018–presentPhoenix Suns
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Mikal Bridges (born August 30, 1996) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Villanova Wildcats, winning national championships in 2016 and 2018. Bridges was selected with the 10th pick by the 76ers in the 2018 NBA Draft before being traded to the Suns on draft night.

Early life[edit]

Bridges is the son of Jack Bridges and Tyneeha Rivers, who gave birth to him at the age of 19 and raised him as a single mother.[1] He grew up in Overbrook, Philadelphia, and nearby neighborhoods. He moved to Malvern, Pennsylvania in middle school. His second cousin is former La Salle player Tyrone Garland.[2]

High school career[edit]

Bridges attended Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, where he was coached by Jim Nolan.[3] He began to get serious about basketball in his sophomore year when he had a growth spurt to reach 6-6.[4] As a junior, he averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game. During his senior season, he was named First Team All-Class AAAA. He posted averages of 18.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.4 blocks, and 1.6 steals per game as a senior. Bridges was named to the Philadelphia Inquirer's All-Southeastern Pa., boys basketball first team as a senior. In his career, he had 1,340 points and 511 rebounds. Coming out of high school, he was ranked by ESPNU as the 82nd best player nationally, and committed to Villanova in June 2013.[5][6]

College career[edit]

Freshman year[edit]

Bridges redshirted his freshman season and assisted in scouting players.[7] In his first year with Villanova, he appeared in all 40 games for the Wildcats. He said he had to do a lot of lifting weights and changing his three-point shot.[8] He had a key role coming off the bench in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, scoring 11 points in a Final Four rout of the Oklahoma Sooners. Bridges won the NCAA championship along with his teammates for the school for the first time since 1985. He averaged 6.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game as a freshman.[5] "He came in as a high school scoring phenom like they all do, so I'm really proud of how he has opened up his game defensively," coach Jay Wright said.[9]

Sophomore year[edit]

Bridges dunking against DePaul in 2017

Coming into the 2016–17 season, Bridges was slated to be the team's sixth man but started every game after Phil Booth went down with a knee injury in November. As a sophomore, Joe Juliano of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "If there is such a thing as a five-tool player in college basketball, Mikal Bridges is the model."[8] He became well-regarded as a lanky forward who could score and play excellent defense and often guarded the opposing team's best player.[9] In the NCAA Tournament, he scored 13 points to help Villanova to a first round victory over Mount St. Mary's. Bridges averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while making 54 percent of his field goal attempts and 39 percent of three point tries.[5] He improved his scoring as the season progressed, averaging 12.3 points in his last 12 games of the regular season. Along with Creighton's Khyri Thomas and teammate Josh Hart, Bridges was one of three Big East defensive player of the year honorees, being third in the conference in steals with 1.9 per game.[8]

Junior year[edit]

He was named to the 2017–18 preseason All-Big East second team.[10] Bridges hit all six 3-point tries in a 24-point performance against Lafayette on November 17.[11] On December 4, he scored a career-high 28 points to go with six rebounds and two blocks in an 88–72 victory over Gonzaga.[12] Bridges scored 23 points in an overtime win against Seton Hall on March 2, 2018.[4] At the conclusion of the regular season, he joined Jalen Brunson on the All-Big East first team.[13] He was named MVP of the Big East Tournament after scoring 28 points in the title game, a 76–66 overtime win over Providence.[14]

As a junior Bridges averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on 51 percent shooting, including 43.5 percent on 3-pointers. He received the Julius Erving Award for best small forward.[15] On April 10, 2018, Bridges announced his intention to forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, where he was the 10th selection in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was later traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the 16th pick, Zhaire Smith, and an unprotected 2021 first round pick.[16]

Professional career[edit]

Phoenix Suns (2018–present)[edit]

On June 21, 2018, Bridges was selected with the tenth overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2018 NBA draft. Besides being a Philadelphia-area player (and the first of four Villanova players drafted this year), Bridges' mother, Tyneeha Rivers, is the Vice President of Human Resources for Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, which hires for the 76ers.[17] Soon afterward, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for draft rights to Zhaire Smith (16th pick) and a future first round pick.[18] Bridges would then join the Phoenix Suns' 2018 NBA Summer League squad alongside #1 pick Deandre Ayton and the rest of the team's younger players on July 1, 2018.[19] He would sign his proper, rookie-scaled contract with the Suns five days later.[20] In his Summer League debut, Bridges recorded 14 points on nearly perfect shooting (including 4/5 from the three-point line) and 3 rebounds in a 92–85 win over the Dallas Mavericks.[21] On October 6, it was announced that Bridges would miss the remainder of the preseason with an elbow injury.[22]

Bridges later returned in time to play in the last 11.5 seconds of the team's regular season opener to make his professional debut in a blowout 121–100 win over the Dallas Mavericks on October 17, 2018.[23] Three days later, Bridges recorded his first points, rebounds, and assists of his professional career with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in a blowout loss against the Denver Nuggets.[24] On November 14, he made his first career start in place of Trevor Ariza,[25] scoring eight points in 25 minutes in a 116–96 win over the San Antonio Spurs.[26] On February 2, 2019, Bridges recorded a season-high 20 points in a 118–112 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.[27] On February 25, Bridges put up a season-high 8 assists to help the Suns break a franchise-record 17-game losing streak to win 124–121 over the Miami Heat.[28] From January 22 until March 6, Bridges would get at least one steal in each game played throughout that time. He became the first rookie since Chris Paul to obtain a steal per game throughout a 20-game stretch.[29] It was also the second-longest stretch for a rookie in franchise history behind Ron Lee.[30] At the end of the season, Bridges became the only Suns player to play in all 82 games for the regular season.

On November 19, 2019, Bridges matched his career-high of 20 points in a 120–116 loss to the Sacramento Kings.[31] On December 14, he grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in his first start of the 2019–20 NBA season in a 121–119 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City.[32] Bridges then matched his career-high 10 rebounds two days later in a 111–110 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.[33] On January 18, Bridges scored a season-high 26 points on 6-8 three-point shooting in a 123–119 win over the Boston Celtics.[34] On March 8, Bridges got his first double-double with 21 points and matching his career-high of 10 rebounds in a 140–131 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.[35] In the 2020 NBA Bubble, Bridges started in all eight games at small forward for the Suns, being a major part in helping them win all eight games there.[36]

On January 9, 2021, Bridges recorded a new career-high of 34 points in a 125–117 win over the Indiana Pacers.[37] He also helped the Suns start their season with a 7–3 record, their best 10-game start to a season since 2009.

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBA[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2018–19 Phoenix 82 56 29.5 .430 .335 .805 3.2 2.1 1.6 .5 8.3
2019–20 Phoenix 73 32 28.0 .510 .361 .844 4.0 1.8 1.4 .6 9.1
2020–21 Phoenix 72 72 32.6 .543 .425 .840 4.3 2.1 1.1 .9 13.5
Career 227 160 30.0 .497 .376 .830 3.8 2.0 1.4 .6 10.2

College[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2015–16 Villanova 40 0 20.3 .521 .299 .787 3.2 .9 1.1 .7 6.4
2016–17 Villanova 36 33 29.8 .549 .393 .911 4.6 2.0 1.7 .9 9.8
2017–18 Villanova 40 40 32.1 .514 .435 .851 5.3 1.9 1.5 1.1 17.7
Career 116 73 27.3 .525 .400 .845 4.3 1.6 1.4 .9 11.3

References[edit]

  1. ^ Berman, Marc (June 18, 2018). "How Mikal Bridges' mom raised the Knicks' ideal draft pick". New York Post. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  2. ^ Jensen, Mike (March 28, 2018). "Villanova's Mikal Bridges, La Salle hero Tyrone Garland share a bond beyond March Madness". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on March 29, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Toohey, Terry (March 16, 2017). "Bridges stood tall when Villanova needed him most". Delaware County Daily Times. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Juliano, Joe (March 3, 2018). "For Villanova's Mikal Bridges, there's more to success than talent". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Mikal Bridges Bio". Villanova Wildcats. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  6. ^ "Mikal Bridges, Villanova Wildcats, Small Forward". 247Sports. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Frank, Reuben (March 16, 2016). "NCAA Tournament: Mikal Bridges, from redshirt to 'vital part'". CSN Philly. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Juliano, Joe (March 6, 2017). "Mikal Bridges doing a little bit of everything for Villanova". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Frank, Reuben (March 14, 2017). "For Villanova, Mikal Bridges Has Become A Defensive Specialist". CSN Philly. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  10. ^ "Villanova Viewed As League Favorite Again". BigEast.com. Big East Conference. October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  11. ^ "Bridges perfect from 3, No. 5 Villanova blows out Lafayette". ESPN. Associated Press. November 17, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Stubbs, Roman (December 5, 2017). "Villanova's Mikal Bridges puts on a show at Madison Square Garden". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  13. ^ "Bluiett, Brunson, Martin unanimous Big East first team". USA Today. Associated Press. March 4, 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  14. ^ Juliano, Joe (March 10, 2018). "Villanova spurts late in overtime, wins Big East title, 76-66, over Providence". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  15. ^ Pascoe, Bruce (April 7, 2018). "Arizona's Ayton Wins Karl Malone Award". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. p. B004 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Wojnarowski, Adrian (April 10, 2018). "Villanova's Mikal Bridges to bypass final season, enter NBA draft". ESPN. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  17. ^ "NBA Draft 2018: Sixers pick Villanova's Mikal Bridges at No. 10". NJ.com. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "Suns Add Ayton, Bridges, Okobo, King In 2018 NBA Draft". Suns.com. June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  19. ^ https://www.nba.com/suns/press-release/suns-announce-2018-summer-league-roster
  20. ^ https://www.nba.com/suns/press-release/phoenix-suns-sign-ayton-bridges-okoboking
  21. ^ Watkins, Eric (July 7, 2018). "Bridges is Stand-out Wildcat in Friday Summer League Action". 247 Sports. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  22. ^ Fitzgerald, Katherine (October 6, 2018). "Suns rookie Mikal Bridges likely out for rest of preseason with elbow injury". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  23. ^ https://www.nba.com/games/20181017/DALPHX#/boxscore
  24. ^ https://www.nba.com/games/20181020/PHXDEN#/boxscore
  25. ^ "T.J. Warren scores 27 points, Suns beat Spurs 116-96". ESPN.com. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  26. ^ "Spurs vs. Suns – Box Score". ESPN.com. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  27. ^ https://www.nba.com/games/20190202/ATLPHX#/boxscore/
  28. ^ https://www.nba.com/games/20190225/games/20190225/PHXMIA#/boxscore/
  29. ^ https://twitter.com/esidery/status/1103482838756646913
  30. ^ Mikal Bridges' Case for All-Rookie Selection
  31. ^ "Bogdanovic makes 7 3s, Kings hold off Suns 120-116". NBA.com. November 20, 2019. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  32. ^ "Mills hits winner, Spurs outlast Suns in record-setting OT". NBA.com. December 14, 2019. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  33. ^ Brandt, David (December 17, 2019). "Lillard converts late 3-point play, Blazers top Suns 111-110". Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  34. ^ Powtak, Ken (January 18, 2020). "Suns overcome Smart's record 11 3s, beat Celtics 123-119". NBA.com. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  35. ^ Smith, Theresa (March 8, 2020). "Booker, Rubio help Suns race past Giannis-less Bucks". NBA.com. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  36. ^ "Suns top Mavs to finish 8-0 in bubble, but fail to advance". NBA.com. August 13, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  37. ^ Marot, Michael (January 9, 2021). "Bridges Scores Career-High 34 Points In Victory Over Pacers (Bridges' big night helps Suns break through in Indiana)". NBA.com. Retrieved January 9, 2021.

External links[edit]