In September, Valley of the Suns will provide predicted stat lines for the 16 players currently under contract with the Phoenix Suns for the 2022-23 season.
After a season in which he rose to Defensive Player of the Year, Mikal Bridges has once again established himself as an important factor on the road to success for the Phoenix Suns in 2022-23.
The 26-year-old has proven himself in 2021-22, playing in all 95 regular season and playoff games for the Suns. With the Suns now looking a little thin on the wing at the moment, Bridges could be called upon to repeat his Herculean efforts.
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges faces increased pressure and responsibility as he prepares to take another leap forward in 2022-23.
With Jae Crowder leaving the franchise and no suitable replacement online at the moment, the defensive pressure on Bridges is expected to reach a whole new level. However, there’s a feeling he’ll thrive on it, and the situation may actually increase his chances of going further and winning Defensive Player of the Year.
Although its role is essential and certain in defense, the attacking side of the ball leaves more question marks at the start of the season. Bridges has increased his points per game in each of his four career years, but that won’t be a basis on which to judge his 2022-23 season.
Johnson replacing Crowder may have a negative impact on the defense, but his more consistent shotgun streak should give Phoenix even more artillery power. Bridges’ amount of shot attempts may suffer, with his scoring efficiency proving to be the most crucial.
He actually fell in that department last season, shooting 36.9% from three which, while still very good, pales in comparison to his 42.5% in 2020-21. While this kind of high rating might be overkill, hitting the 40% barrier should be a realistic goal.
Producing individual stats isn’t what this season is about for the fifth-year man. Phoenix finished third in the defensive standings last season, and with the loss of Crowder likely to hurt in that regard, repeating a top-three defense will be a sure sign of another positive Bridges season.