Mikal Bridges says Phoenix Suns underestimated Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 NBA Finals

Feb 17, 2024, 7:07 AM | Updated: 8:37 am

Former Phoenix forward Mikal Bridges admitted Friday that the Suns underestimated the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals after taking a 2-0 series lead.

On the Roommates Show, a podcast hosted by former Villanova and current Knicks teammates Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson, Bridges said the Suns didn’t take the Eastern Conference too seriously after going through the onslaught of the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers on the way to the Finals.

“Yeah, and I remember going up 2-0, thought we was good,” Bridges said. “I was like, ‘We about to win the ‘chip,’ because look, especially in the West, especially then, like the West all had tough teams. The East really like whatever. We go see Milwaukee. We over here like, ‘Man, it’s light. It’s the East. It’s Milwaukee. I know they got (Giannis Antetokounmpo) and obviously they got hoopers, but I’m like, the West is tougher than the East. We’re like we good.’

“Go up 2-0, we’re literally like, ‘Exactly. This is what we’ve been talking about. It’s the East bro. We’re about to win this.'”

After the Suns took a 2-0 series lead, the Bucks went on to win four straight games and bring a championship to Milwaukee for the first time in 50 years.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Bridges continued. “I actually couldn’t believe it.”

In the same episode, Bridges also talked about how he was initially upset Phoenix traded up for him in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Bridges said he thought he would go to the Knicks at No. 9 overall or the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 10 overall. After New York took Kevin Knox with the ninth pick, the Philadelphia native got excited about a potential homecoming.

“I’ve been looking at the Sixers since we were in college,” Bridges said on the same episode. “That last year, how we won, how I was playing, I’m like, ‘I’ll fit right into this team. They need 3-and-D, I’m cool.’ I put the hat on, I’m getting emotional, I go through the whole Philly media with my hat on. I’m sitting there knowing everybody since they’ve been (covering me) since high school, college. I know everybody in there.”

Bridges said he didn’t have his phone when he was taking questions from the media. He then went to take photos and said he heard whispers and knew something was off.

He said he was then informed of a potential trade to Phoenix. He said he didn’t know the coach, general manager, or owner and only personally knew Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.

“Phoenix?” Bridges said on the same episode. “I know nothing about Phoenix, and I knew they were weak as hell. I come from a championship team, I’m supposed to be a piece built to win. I was hot. … Media, pictures, you could see it, I had a fake smile. I couldn’t even really smile. I was really mad as hell. Coach (Jay Wright) actually stopped and talked to me at the end of it and was like ‘Honestly, you did a great job, with all that happening, keeping a good face.’

“I kept it professional, because I was so pissed. I didn’t even go out after the draft. I went home and went to bed. What the hell was there to be happy for?”

After arriving in Phoenix, a night out for Bridges helped him feel more grateful.

“I went to Phoenix early morning, and it took me like a day when I got to Phoenix that night. … (I) opened up to myself and was like, ‘You went top 10, bro, let that (expletive) go. Obviously, you wanted to go to this place, or this place and it didn’t work out. But who gives a damn? You’re at this spot that you never thought you’d be. … Be grateful.’”

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