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Mikal Bridges: Brooklyn Struggles Will Help Knicks



Mikal Bridges: Brooklyn Struggles Will Help Knicks

New York Knicks fans may often delight in Brooklyn Nets losses. The latest could produce much more than simply Manhattan schadenfreude.

Officially introduced as a Knick on Tuesday, Bridges addressed his first, and only, full season as a Brooklyn headliner, one that yielded 50 losses and the end of a five-year postseason streak. Despite the struggles, Bridges believes that the season, a year of “having the ball a lot,” will set him on a more positive path in Manhattan.

“Obviously, I didn’t play to how I wanted to play. (It’s about) just learning from it,” Bridges said in video from SNY. “I think last year was a big learning thing. I didn’t play as well as I wanted to but I (was) seeing a lot of things. Going through that kind of helps me. You kind of learn and build from the mistakes and all the other stuff that was going on … I think I just learn from it.”

Mikal Bridges

Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) drives to the basket against New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) and forward Precious Achiuwa (5) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bridges was viewed by many as the face of Brooklyn (men’s) basketball after the Nets started from scratch by trading Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. He averaged 26.1 points and shot over 47 percent from the field in his first 27 Brooklyn appearances after he was the main yield from the Durant trade with the Phoenix Suns at the 2023 transaction deadline but those numbers plummeted to 19.6 and 43.6 respectively over the full trial.

Bridges won’t be asked to do as much in Manhattan, as he joins a well-established Knicks core headlined by fellow former Villanova Wildcats Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart, as well as All-Star Julius Randle and retained import OG Anunoby. Nonetheless, his time as a main attraction, futile as it was, served as a stepping stone and sterling learning experience for the rest of his career.

“When stuff doesn’t go as well as you wanted, you can’t just look at it, be upset, put your head down, be upset,” Bridges said. “I think you just got to look at it, accept it for what it was and learn how to grow from it. I think that’s the biggest thing, when adversity hits, you’ve got to use it. You’ve got to use it as fuel, use it as a learning experience. I think that’s what I’m going to do.”

Bridges’ strategy has already landed the approval of his most prominent critic, who was among those gathered at the Knicks’ training facility to Tarrytown to take in his first public comments as a Manhattanite.

“I think I’m saying the right things. My mom’s nodding her head every time.”

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