The Sudden Rise of Mikal Bridges
Drafted by his hometown 76ers which minutes later turned into the 76ers trading him to Phoenix. Bridges quickly stood out as an elite defender who struggled offensively. With each year that went by, he improved every aspect of his game. Bridges shot 33% from beyond the arc as a rookie and by his third year he was shooting 42%. His points per game also improved by 6 from his rookie year to third year. In his 56 games with the Suns this season, he was averaging a career best 17 points per game. Despite Bridges willingness to improve, never missing a game in five seasons, and being on a team friendly deal. The Suns shipped Bridges too the Nets for the all-time great Kevin Durant.
With the Nets trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the roster was built for the future. The core roster was fractured, comprised of players which would be viewed as complimentary pieces on championship teams.
However... The Nets 15 games after the Durant and Kyrie trade stand strong at the 6th seed with a 39-32 record.
This is in large part due to Mikal Bridges emerging as a star. In his 15 games, he is averaging 26 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists on 50/44/88 shooting splits. He has exceeded all expectations and fast tracked the Nets rebuild.
Since the trade, Bridges Card Ladder index is up 106.80%. That kind of growth in such a short period is relatively unheard of for an ultra-modern player. While it seems to have stagnated in the last two weeks, his market can only go up so much.
With Bridges being a statistical standout, the question arises of what is next for Mikal? The uphill battle in this all is the Nets front office is unstable at best with ownership often acting out of spite/pettiness. The roster current construction has pieces other teams would love to cherry pick, with guys like Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith, and Joe Harris. The front office disastrous acquisitions for Harden cost them several first rounders. However with a ton of projected cap space and a solid young core, the large New York market coould be attractive for free agents.