Reason to make the deal: Bridges brings elite defense and good shooting
Bridges is an elite defender. Make no mistake about it.
He was just a Defensive Player of the Year finalist in 2021-22 and he’s still only 27-years-old. In other words, he’s still a very good wing defender, which is what Rockets coach Ime Udoka wants.
And although the Rockets have the sixth-best defense in 2023-24, that’s a bit misleading, as they rank 14th in defensive efficiency in the last 10 games. Bridges and Dillon Brooks on the wing could make life miserable for opposing teams.
Bridges also is a good shooter, which the Rockets don’t really have, as they rank 27th in 3-point shooting on the season. He’s a career 37.5 percent 3-point shooter and has made right at 37 percent from deep in 2023-24 on 6.6 attempts per contest.
The Rockets are in win-now mode and want their younger players to taste postseason success. Ime Udoka made it clear that he expects to make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference.
Jalen Green is still developing his game and will need more time to develop. A team wanting to win now may not want to invest that time in the hopes of a player improving his game.
Bridges is a finished product and immediately gives the team a higher chance of winning and contending in 2023-24, as he has skills and traits that Green simply doesn’t. And Green now knows he’s been dangled as a trade piece at the deadline.
Sometimes that can have long-term effects on players, especially mentally, as they can find it rather difficult to go all out for an organization (and/or coach) if they feel unwanted.