Nets’ Mikal Bridges discusses end of season, struggling mindset, more

NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets have finished a disappointing season in which they did not meet their own expectations of making the play-in tournament, let alone the playoffs. One of Brooklyn’s best players, Mikal Bridges, saw his production drop from last season along with the positive mood that he always seemed to be in prior to the losing.

“Any pro level, it’s rare where everybody comes back so I’m just cherishing that,” Bridges said during his exit interview on Monday. The Nets will have seven players that are free-agents this summer (three unrestricted and four restricted) including center Nic Claxton, who is by far the team’s biggest free-agent.

“I’m pretty close with everybody on this team,” Bridges explained. “Everybody be in different spots and you try your best to link up with everybody and see people in different cities, but knowing that this is pretty much the last time that everybody in that locker room will be together.”

The Nets seemed to have been ready to have a season that everybody could be proud of as they were coming off a huge win at the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 13, bringing them to a 13-10 record. However, from that point on, things for Brooklyn fell off the rails as they endured a five-game losing streak against some of the better teams in the league.

Following that demoralizing losing streak, the Nets played the lowly Detroit Pistons two straight times and won both games, giving the team some confidence that they could get out of their rut. However, the point of the season that most fans point to as the moment that the season changed for the worst was the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 27.

Brooklyn sat down a majority of their rotation players for the game with various injuries, a decision that was criticized by virtually everyone within the fanbase and Bridges was not a fan as well. “For the players, I know that I was pretty hurt from that, I was pretty pissed off about that situation.” The decision later caused the Nets to be fined $100,000 for violating the Player Participation Policy.

Bridges admitted that this season (32-50) was trying for him mentally as this was the worst season that he’s been through in terms of win-loss record since he was a rookie on a Phoenix team that went 19-63 in the 2018-19 season, Bridges’ rookie year.

“I think it was really tough just personally. I got a couple gray hairs. Wanting to win and compete and being frustrated on a lot of things. Being frustrated at myself. You just gotta go through it sometimes, you know? You have expectations, you have goals and sometimes, you don’t reach those goals. Life has a funny way of just humbling you a little bit, but it’s always for the greater good,” Bridges said.

Ultimately, Bridges took accountability for his behavior and his play not meeting expectations, vowing to “keep improving.” Bridges will have plenty of time this summer to work on his game and the strength of his mental fortitude.

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire