Expectations have been high for Miles Bridges since he was drafted/acquired by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2018 draft. The Hornets had the No. 11 pick and selected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander while the Los Angeles Clippers drafted Bridges, then the two players were swapped for each other while Charlotte also received a 2020 second round pick (which became Vernon Cary Jr.) and a 2021 second round pick.
In addition to the high expectations of being a lottery pick, Bridges will always have Gilgeous-Alexander’s shadow looming over him as SGA is already performing at an All-Star level averaging 22.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.5 APG this year. Now in his third NBA season Miles has been fine so far. Not great. Not bad. Just fine.
Miles Bridges has just pulled off perhaps the three best three game stretch of his career. Against the Washington Wizards he scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting with 14 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. He then played brilliantly against the Houston Rockets with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 10 rebounds. In the Hornets last game against the Memphis Grizzlies he contributed 15 points on 5-of-9 field goal attempts with 10 rebounds and two assists.
Prior to these last three games Miles had recorded just six double-doubles in 168 career games. He’s now done it in back-to-back-to-back contests with the Hornets winning two of those games. During this hot streak Bridges is averaging 15.0 points with 11.3 rebounds while shooting 58% from the floor and 42% (5-of-12) from the 3-point line.
In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Miles has also been playing well on the defensive end. At the Hive’s Jack Simone recently highlighted the Hornets defensive potential and dropped this nugget about Bridges’ defensive work: “The most intriguing of Charlotte’s young defenders has to be Miles Bridges. The intensity he brings to the floor is evident every time he comes off the bench. While he’s struggled to stay consistent in terms of shooting, his defensive potential is clearly there and the statistics show it. There have been 56 different 5-man lineups the Hornets have run this season, and Bridges is in the top three in terms of defensive rating.”
Let’s not forget that defense is half of the game of basketball. It’s not as easy to quantify as scoring and rebounding, but Miles is clearly making strides on the defensive end.
Bridges’ play has improved this year as the talent around him as also improved. He has formed an almost telepathic connection with LaMelo Ball and is embracing his role as a small-ball four. Miles Bridges has always been a big part of the Hornets future, but he’s now becoming an impactful part of their present.