In this age of technology, fans have developed a deeper appreciation for the game of basketball. Breakdown videos plus the array of analysts and ex-NBA players who continuously share their thoughts on the game have turned basketball into precise science rather than mere entertainment.
Before, only professional ballers were aware that you could impact the game in many ways — not just through scoring. Nowadays, fans have come to understand and embrace this fact. Bobby Marks, an analyst for ESPN, decided to key on this trend by pointing out that elite defenders like Phoenix Suns guard Mikal Bridges should become All-Stars. Marks is aware of the fact that the All-Star game has become an alley-oop fiesta. Therefore spots are reserved for those the most exciting players. However, Marks believes that an All-Star nod is a milestone, too.
"Mikal Bridges. We gotta start rewarding guys for their defense. I mean Mikal Bridges, and Draymond certainly are All-NBA defensive players. I know the All-Star game is about alley-oops and scoring points. But both those guys deserve a spot right now, we've still got a couple months,"
Bobby Marks, Instagram
Bridges finished 11th in voting for the 10-man pool All-NBA Defensive Teams last year. He received a total of 39 points. LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was the last one in with 43 points. This did not just prove that Bridges is one heck of a defender, but he's also one of the critical reasons for the Suns' success. It wasn't just Chris Paul or Devin Booker's doing.
Marks, an ex-assistant general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, knows that few elite defenders have made the All-Star team. Legends like Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo, known exclusively for their defense, have been named All-Stars multiple times in their career. You can also insert Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert in that shortlist.
The thing is, Bridges isn't just a defensive stopper. True to head coach Monty Williams' plans, Bridges is now a better scorer. He's averaging 12.9 points per game this season. Tune into a Suns game and notice Bridges is more involved in the offense, sometimes even orchestrating plays and getting to his spots.
If he develops further, he would fit into the mold of two-way players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Once this comes into fruition, then Bridges should be an All-Star every single year.