2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – West


Phoenix Suns

51-21, 2nd in West

Playoff Matchup: (7) Los Angeles Lakers

Sean: Mikal Bridges

Bridges is the unsung hero in the Suns starting lineup. He’s capable of knocking down open shots and is efficient in doing so.  Defensively, he gives Phoenix a ton of versatility. Pairing him with Deandre Ayton gives the Suns a solid defensive core. At 6’7 (with a 7’1 wingspan) Bridges will be tasked with defending forwards like Lebron, Kawhi, Paul Geroge and Luka Doncic. 

If the Suns are going to make a run to the Finals, Bridges will have to find a way to contain and limit the elite wing players in his conference in some capacity.

James: Mikal Bridges

One of the most versatile defenders in the league, having one of his best seasons of his young career. Being put into this position playing alongside Chris Paul and Devin Booker he fits the mold very well. A guy who can go out and get you a bucket and defend at an elite level.

I relate him to what Phoenix thought TJ Warren and Josh Jackson would turn into. Producing 13.5 points, shooting 54% clip he’s managed to get better every season. Needless to say the Suns have a Tim Hardaway type guy, but a lot better defensively. More importantly this is the first season he’s played in all 72 games. His durability is amazing 



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