The Charlotte Hornets are sitting at 5-10 through their first 15 games and still have plenty questions that need to be answered throughout the course of the season. They've suffered a few key injuries to players that have cost them a couple wins. Most recently, they lost LaMelo Ball to yet another ankle injury, his fifth foot or ankle problem in his four-year career. Terry Rozier has missed some time as well. Things appear to be off to a rough start for the Hornets, but there are some silver linings amid drama and disappointment from the first few weeks of 2023-24.

Miles Bridges is picking up where he left off

Miles Bridges with the Hornets arena in the background

Since his suspension for domestic violence incident ended in mid-November, Brides has stepped into the lineup and made an impact immediately. He came off the bench in his first two games of the season, but has became a starter until further notice. In five games, he's averaging 21 points and just a shade under nine rebounds a game. Bridges became a go-to scorer for Charlotte immediately and is becoming one of the better rebounders on the squad.

After sitting out all of last year, Bridges' strong play is easily the Hornets' biggest surprise of the season so far.

His play hasn't always resulted in wins, but Bridges' synergy with some of his former and new teammates is clear. Steve Clifford has featured him in actions on offense to make decisions to dictate what's going down on the floor. Through his first five games, Bridges played around 37 minutes a night. If that keeps up, that'll be a career-high, which just goes to show how important Bridges already is to everything Charlotte does on the floor.

Don't forget about LaMelo Ball

Hornets' LaMelo Ball with fire aura

The Hornets franchise player has to be an honorable mention pleasant surprise for two reasons. Number one, does Ball's recent stretch of 30-point games really come as a shock to you? It's year four for a guy who has already grace the hardwood during an All-Star game, broken several franchise records and shown he has a unique flair for the highlight play. Through 15 games, Ball is averaging 24.7 points, eight assists and 5.5 rebounds per game. It shouldn't be a surprise he's playing so well; this was expected for Ball.

If anything, maybe we're surprised that Clifford allows Ball to control the pace of the offense as often as he does. Some coaches would show some hesitation giving the keys to their players, but Clifford did the best thing for Ball: Let him play free while creating for himself and the open man.

With Ball and Bridges in the lineup, easy opportunities were being made off of them, resulting in higher quality shots. With Ball out for at least the next few weeks, expect Bridges to shoulder a heavier scoring and playmaking burden for Charlotte.

Hornets still have some hope if…

They stay healthy down the stretch of the season. Charlotte's back court has been hobbled to start with injuries to starters and key rotation guys. With Ball missing time, wins are going to be harder to come by, but thankfully the Hornets got Rozier back. As long as he gets up to speed quickly, they talent

have enough to claw there way to .500. Every team experiences injuries at some point in the season. Charlotte has just had some bad luck in that department for last four years or so.