Many who follow the Phoenix Suns believed forward Mikal Bridges was snubbed from the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
When it comes to grabbing all-defensive honors for the first time in his career, Suns fans won't have to worry for another billing of absence for who many people call "The Warden."
The NBA announced their all-defensive teams for the 2021-22 season, and Bridges was one of five players to grab first team honors.
The following is from Phoenix's official press release on Bridges:
"The runner-up in voting for 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Bridges received the second-most votes for All-Defensive as he was voted to the First Team on 95 of 100 ballots. This is Bridges’ first career All-Defensive honor after he finished one place outside of a Second Team selection last season. Bridges becomes the first Suns player named to an All-Defensive team since Raja Bell in 2007-08, and the first Sun named to the First Team since Bell in 2006-07. Bridges is the fifth Suns player ever to be named to the All-Defensive First Team as his is the tenth All-Defensive First Team selection in franchise history."
Here's how the overall voting panned out:
Bridges is joined by Marcus Smart, Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaren Jackson as first-team honorees.
Second team players were Bam Adebayo, Jrue Holiday, Matisse Thybulle, Robert Williams and Draymond Green.
Bridges, known for his defensive prowess on the court, earned words of praise from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith when he was up for DPOTY earlier in the season.
"That’s the Defensive Player of the Year, let’s get that out of the way right now, there’s nothing to talk about. This brother is special and he deserves our praise," said Smith on First Take earlier this year.
This season, Bridges played in every single regular season game for the Suns, averaging 14.2 points per game along with 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest.
Bridges' defensive abilities along with his scoring (especially as a three-point shooter) make him one of the more underrated players in the grand scope of the league.
Bridges may be underrated no more, however. The NBA believes he's one of the best defenders around, and the Suns made that clear when they inked him to a 4-year, $90 million rookie contract extension last October.
At just 25-years-old, the Suns hope Bridges will be able to lock defenders up on a nightly basis for years to come.