The NBA regular season is over and the playoffs are about to begin. But before we turn our attention to the postseason, let’s take a moment to appreciate the players who played in every single game of the 82-game schedule. This is the NBA’s All-82 Team, a select group of ironmen who showed durability, consistency and availability throughout the year.
This season, only 18 players managed to play in all 82 games, which is the lowest number since the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. Among them, there were some familiar names like Jimmy Butler, Julius Randle and Rudy Gobert, who have been All-Stars and All-NBA selections.
There were also some rising stars like Ja Morant, Dejounte Murray and Darius Garland, who made significant leaps in their development. And there were some role players like Royce O’Neale, PJ Tucker and Nicolas Batum, who provided valuable contributions to their teams.
But for this article, we will focus on three players who made the All-82 Team for the first time in their careers and who had impressive seasons that deserve more recognition. They are Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns, Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs and Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors.
Mikal Bridges: The 83-game man
Mikal Bridges not only played in all 82 games for the Suns, but he also played in an extra game that no one else did. That’s because he was part of the trade that sent him from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Suns on draft night in 2018. The trade was finalized after Bridges had already played in a summer league game for the Sixers, so he technically played in 83 games this season.
Bridges is the first player in NBA history to play in more than 82 games in a regular season. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from three-point range.
He was one of the best three-and-D wings in the league, providing elite defense on multiple positions and spacing the floor for his teammates.
Bridges was a key part of the Suns’ success this season, as they finished with the second-best record in the league at 61-21. He started in all 82 games and played the third-most minutes on the team behind Chris Paul and Devin Booker. He was also one of the most consistent players on the team, scoring in double figures in 70 games and never missing a game due to injury or rest.
Bridges is set to become a restricted free agent this summer and he will likely command a lucrative contract from the Suns or another team. He has proven to be one of the most valuable role players in the league and a perfect fit for the modern game.
Derrick White: The comeback kid
Derrick White had a rough start to the season, as he missed the first four games due to a toe injury that required surgery. He then returned for one game before suffering another toe injury that sidelined him for another nine games. He finally came back for good on Jan. 22 and played in every game since then.
White averaged 15.4 points, 3.5 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 block per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three-point range. He was one of the best shot-blockers among guards in the league, ranking fourth with 82 blocks. He also improved his free throw shooting to a career-high 85 percent.
White was one of the bright spots for the Spurs, who missed the playoffs for a second straight year with a 33-49 record. He was their second-leading scorer behind DeMar DeRozan and their best perimeter defender. He also showed flashes of being a clutch performer, hitting several big shots down the stretch of close games.
White is under contract with the Spurs until 2024 after signing a four-year extension worth $73 million last year. He is still only 27 years old and has room to grow as a player. He will be a key piece for the Spurs as they look to rebuild their roster and return to contention.
Final Thoughts: NBA’s All-82 Team
The NBA’s All-82 Team is a testament to the durability, consistency, and availability of these select players who played in every game of the 82-game regular season. This season, only 18 players managed to accomplish this feat, the lowest number since the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season.
Among them were some established stars, rising talents, and valuable role players. However, the focus in this article is on three players who made the All-82 Team for the first time in their careers and had impressive seasons that deserve recognition.
Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns made history by playing in 83 games this season, the first player in NBA history to do so. He was a key contributor to the Suns’ success, providing elite defense on multiple positions and spacing the floor for his teammates.
Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs had a comeback season, overcoming injuries to become the team’s second-leading scorer and best perimeter defender. Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors had a breakout season, improving his shooting and scoring to become a key piece of the Warriors’ rotation.
The All-82 Team is a reminder of the importance of durability and availability in the NBA, where injuries can derail a team’s season. These players showed their commitment to their teams and their craft by playing in every game and making significant contributions. They deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication.