Ranking mismatches for Luka Doncic and Mavericks to hunt in playoff series vs. Suns

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking mismatches for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks to hunt vs. Suns: 10. Bridges

Mikal Bridges won two NCAA championships at Villanova playing next to Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson before being the tenth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 6’6 wing continues to improve as he has gone from 3-and-D wing to key starter to elite defender that scores 15-plus per game.

Bridges is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and was a key reason why the Suns finished third in defensive rating. No player is looking forward to facing the 25-year-old wing for an entire series because Bridges has size, length, quickness, and a high basketball IQ.

Luka Doncic only played in one of the three regular-season meetings between the two teams, and Bridges defended the Mavericks star for over six minutes in that contest. It was almost three times as much as any other player, and that appears to be Phoenix’s preferred matchup heading into the series.

Number 77 will be trying to force switches to get against an easier matchup, but do not be surprised to see Phoenix trying to fight over screens to keep Mikal Bridges on Luka. His success in slowing down Doncic could determine which team advances to the Western Conference Finals.