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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Mikal Bridges got the Mike Trout treatment from Joe Harris

Mikal Bridges has been one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA for the last few seasons now, but it was easy for him to get a bit overshadowed on the Phoenix Suns when sharing the court with stars like Devin Booker and Chris Paul. He has been able to shine on the Brooklyn Nets, though.

The 26-year-old has reinvented himself since being traded to the Nets on Feb. 9, becoming more of a versatile scorer who can attack the basket to great effect. He got back to his 3-point roots in Tuesday’s 118-96 road win over the Houston Rockets, going 4-of-10 from downtown en route to a 30-point night.

As the big games keep piling up, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to pigeonhole Bridges as a specialist. His teammate Joe Harris acknowledged the complete package Nets fans have witnessed over the last month.

“They don’t use this term for basketball, but he’s the equivalent of a five-tool type basketball player,” Harris told YES Network after the game. “He does a little bit of everything. Offensively, he can definitely carry the load for us, but he always makes the right play, though, too.”

The Mike Trout level of praise doled out to Bridges should not be taken lightly, nor should it be scoffed at. He as averaged over 26 points in his 10 games with the Nets, scoring 30 or more five times. After some massive growing pains for the team post Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Bridges has helped lead Brooklyn to a three-game winning streak.

They are just one game behind the New York Knicks for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Bridges gives hope that the Nets will not just be an afterthought come the playoffs. A few seasons ago they possessed a similar, young and gritty identity. With him leading the way, Jacque Vaughn may have an even upgraded version of that group in the near future.

Trout caught the MLB by storm over a decade ago and hasn’t looked back. Bridges has now announced his stardom and is intent on remaining a top option long-term.

Brooklyn’s success may depend on it.

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