Before the season started, many people expected LaMelo Ball to have a breakout season. He was pegged as the leader of the Charlotte Hornets, and in large part, he has been. However, despite how well he has been playing, he has not been the story of the season for Charlotte thus far.
Instead, his running mate Miles Bridges has stolen the spotlight out from under him. The pair has emerged as one of the best young duos in the NBA and has led the Hornets to a 3-1 start to the season. Both are averaging over 20 points a night and have been shooting the ball super well. Bridges even managed to take home the first Eastern Conference Player of the Week award of the season. It has been a truly phenomenal start for the fourth year forward.
After an underappreciated season last year, Bridges was up for a contract extension going into this year. However, he and the Hornets could not come to an agreement before the extension deadline. This means that he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Bridges clearly took the fact that Charlotte did not pay him to heart. Based on the way he has been playing, he’ll likely earn a lot more than the Hornets were previously willing to pay him next offseason.
Although it is very early in the season, Bridges ranks top-20 in the league in scoring and has looked absolutely incredible so far. The aggressiveness with which he plays is something that a lot of players just don’t possess. Bridges attacks the paint with bad intentions every time he drives. Throw in the fact that he has one of the best playmakers in the NBA running the offense, and it makes for a deadly combo when it comes to cuts.
His three-point shooting has also been incredible so far this year. His numbers went down a bit after a rough night vs. the Celtics, but he’s still looking good. Bridges is shooting 35.7% from deep on the year, but before the game against Boston, he was shooting 44.4%. He also thrives in catch-and-shoot situations. He shoots 46.7% on catch-and-shoot threes this year, and that includes the game vs. the Celtics.
While it may seem unlikely that Bridges continues to produce at this level throughout the season, it’s definitely not impossible. A lot of young players take jumps in their third or fourth season, and Bridges just happens to be in the perfect situation to do so. It seems as though James Borrego has entrusted him with the keys to the organization, alongside Ball. They are taking more shots than anyone else on the team by a decent margin.
Bridges may not be the most well-known name on the roster, but he’s clearly one of the best players. On top of that, he represents everything that is fun about the game of basketball. He’s extremely athletic, he never backs down from a dunk attempt, and he can drain threes with the best of them. Bridges’ game as a whole should be capturing the attention of basketball fans around the nation.
Keep an eye on Bridges and the Hornets throughout the season. Charlotte is one of the most fun teams in the league right now, and Bridges is one of the most electrifying players. He’s young, he’s hungry, and he’s playing at an All-Star-level at the moment. Hopefully, he can keep this up and lead the Hornets to a playoff spot.