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ATH Mailbag: Could Miles Bridges be in the starting lineup?

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Is Frank Kaminsky the odd man out? When will Malik Monk start? Your questions answered in the latest ATH Mailbag,

NBA: Preseason-Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

You can submit questions to this mailbag by direct messaging/replying to the @At_The_Hive Twitter account, or email athmailbag@gmail.com.

@henry2polsley asks via DM what my thoughts are on Frank Kaminsky for the 2018-19 season.

Frank Kaminsky is going to be in a tough situation this year. By moving him to the center position, James Borrego has made it harder for Kaminsky to find minutes over Willy Hernangomez and Cody Zeller, especially given that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has become the first power forward off the bench, at least in preseason.

Kaminsky hasn’t been impressive his first three season. He’s been an inconsistent shooter and bad interior defender. And if you can’t do either of those things as a ‘stretch five’, you simply aren’t going to find minutes.

@lonewolfblake asks via DM if it’s only a matter of time before Malik Monk takes the starting two-guard spot from Jeremy Lamb.

Malik Monk fits the sixth man role very well. Having a nice scoring punch off of the bench certainly doesn’t hurt the Hornets. But Monk has truckloads of potential. The CJ McCollum comparisons were present on draft night, and they still haven’t gone away nearly 14 months later.

But having a small backcourt of Kemba Walker and Malik Monk isn’t favorable for defensive purposes. I’m not saying Walker is particularly bad on defense, but Monk hasn’t been impressive on that end of the floor either.

At least in the meantime, Lamb deserves to be in the starting lineup. However, it’s likely that he may leave next summer when the Hornets will be stricken with a bad money situation. Therefore, it may not be too long before Monk gets his run.

@AlexLeuf asks,

Borrego seems more willing to play Michael Kidd-Gilchrist than he is Frank Kaminsky at power forward. Because of this, yes, I do think MKG has a spot in the rotation. However, Miles Bridges has been spectacular in the preseason — so much so that we may end up seeing a lot of him at the four as well.

While Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t a totally new player, there are some aspects of his game that are significantly different. Kidd-Gilchrist has been a machine on the offensive boards, and he has also been more involved cutting to the rim and really on offense in general so far in preseason.

All of these simple changes should help Kidd-Gilchrist become a more reliable player, although I don’t see him earning his starting spot back.

@AValiveti asks,

There are three different ways the wing rotation could play out this year:

1. Miles Bridges is one of the best rookies of 2018, therefore, he earns a starting spot in the Hornets lineup over Nicolas Batum (or Jeremy Lamb, if Borrego moves Batum to the shooting guard spot).

2. There are an immense amount of injuries (that occur relatively near each other), therefore, Bridges (or Bacon) is thrust into the starting lineup.

3. Nobody gets injured or performs poorly. Bridges has the average season for a lottery selection and becomes a rotational forward for the 2018-19 season.

In scenarios one and two, Bridges could become a starter at some point this season. The more likely of the three, however, is when Bridges is simply a rotational forward.

Again, setting the expectation ridiculously high isn’t good for anyone, so let’s try to keep our requests for Bridges relatively low, at least for 2018.