Suns vs Mavericks - Phoenix  Suns Winning Moments

The NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award went to Marcus Smart this season, but Phoenix Suns' Mikal Bridges would have been a well-deserving recipient had he won it.

He will be among the top X-factors for the Suns against the Dallas Mavericks for this reason. 

There's been speculation about whether Bridges will end up matching up primarily on Luka Doncic or Jalen Brunson

when the Suns face the Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals. There's a strong case to be made for either option.

Doncic expects Bridges to guard him and recently described him as being one of the "top two guards" in the NBA defensively.

Given how important Doncic is to the Mavericks' offense, it is difficult to envision Bridges not guarding him primarily at some point. 

They have Bridges,” Doncic said. “I know he’s going to be on me. He’s the best, in the top two guards, him and Smart.

But it’s really tough against him. His defense is amazing. It really impresses me."

When explaining what makes Bridges such a talented defender, Doncic pointed out the strength of his hands

He has strong hands, that’s one part,” Doncic said. “But I think he’s smart on the defensive end.