Mikal Bridges Among 13 Top Young NBA Players Named by USA Basketball to 2019 USA Select Team
USA Basketball today announced Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges is among 13 top young NBA players chosen for the 2019 USA Select Team that will train August 5-8 with the USA Basketball National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas as they prepare for the 2019 FIBA World Cup for Men.
The Select Team members will also join with the National Team players and participate in the USA Blue versus USA White exhibition game that is scheduled for August 9, 7:00 p.m. PT, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In 2018-19, Bridges led all NBA rookies with 1.57 steals per game (12th overall in league), 129 total steals (8th), 2.72 deflections per game (16th) and 223 total deflections (7th), establishing himself as one of the game’s best young defensive players. The 10th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft played all 82 games and averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists while posting a True Shooting Percentage of 55.6%. He recorded a 1.84 steal-to-turnover ratio; according to Basketball-Reference, this is the second-best steal-to-turnover ratio ever by an NBA rookie (min. 80 steals) behind only Kawhi Leonard’s 1.93 in 2011-12. The winner of the 2019 Dan Majerle Hustle Award, Bridges became the first rookie in Suns history to total at least 100 each of both steals (129) and three-pointers (105).
“The purpose of the Select Team is to help prepare our National Team for the World Cup and to offer an opportunity for some younger NBA standouts to be involved in the USA Basketball National Team program,” said USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo. “These 13 players help extend the legacy of elite players who have been part of the USA Basketball Select teams. Not only will this group help prepare the United States for the FIBA World Cup, but it will also provide them with valuable experience at the USA Basketball National Team level.”
Since the development of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program in 2006, USA Basketball has previously selected and utilized six USA Select teams to help the USA National teams prepare for major international competitions. Bridges is the fourth Suns player named to the USA Select Team since the first was fielded in 2007. Devin Booker, then coming off his rookie season, was a member of the last USA Select Team in 2016 that trained with the National Team prior to the 2016 Olympic Games. Miles Plumlee (2014) and Robin Lopez (2008) have also participated as Suns on USA Select teams.
Joining Bridges on the 2019 USA Basketball Select Team are: Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn Nets/Texas); Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings/Duke); Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks/Villanova); John Collins (Atlanta Hawks/Wake Forest); Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks/Notre Dame); De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings/Kentucky); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets/Virginia); Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic/Florida State); Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks/Chalmette High School); Landry Shamet (LA Clippers/Wichita State); Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs/Colorado); and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks/Oklahoma).
Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who served as head coach of the 2017-19 USA Basketball’s six World Cup Qualifying Teams and the gold medalist 2017 USA AmeriCup team, will serve as head coach of the 2019 USA Basketball Select Team. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, who served as head coach of the 2015 USA Pan American Games Team, will serve as a Select Team assistant coach.