Everyone is aware that LaMelo Ball is the savior of the Charlotte Hornets. The reigning Rookie of the Year showed flashes of greatness last year, but he can’t drag the team back to relevancy alone. Every star needs help and the Hornets have just the man on the roster to help propel them up the Eastern Conference standings.
Miles Bridges will have to step up for the squad to make the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2016. He has all the tools to be a successful player in the NBA and he had a lot of big moments last season. Sure, the highlight dunks have been awesome, but he can do a lot more on both sides of the ball.
When LaMelo, Gordon Hayward, and Devonte’ Graham went down with injuries last season, Bridges kept them afloat in mid-March. He then rattled off eight 20-plus point games in April and helped guide the Hornets to the play-in tournament. That stretch for Bridges was cut short due to COVID-19 protocols, but it was one of the high notes of the season for the Hornets.
The squad needs a third option to step up with Hayward and Terry Rozier. The more scoring options they have, the better because LaMelo needs as many weapons as he can get. Hopefully, Bridges can get a similar groove in the upcoming season to be a potent offensive weapon for the young squad.
Bridges earned his minutes from day one on the defensive end. He already is a stout defender and usually garners the attention of the opposing team’s best offensive player. For a 6’6″ guy, Bridges moves well enough to guard multiple positions on the floor. Especially in this era where power forwards aren’t a towering 6’10” or 6’11” anymore. He has proven to be a very versatile defender in his first few seasons and he needs to take a leap to make an All-Defensive Team. It should be one of his goals for this season and the Hornets are going to need him to be elite on this side of the ball.
Bridges should shape out to be an elite two-way player in the upcoming season. Right next to LaMelo, he is the most recognizable player among fans. His highlight-reel dunks attract anyone watching. LaMelo and Bridges have already seemed to have built chemistry as well, with everyone trying to sell their nickname Air BnB all over social media. Both guys will continue to grow alongside one another. LaMelo has taken the spotlight in Buzz City since he arrived, but Bridges can shine brighter this season.
It is a tall task for Miles Bridges, but it’s possible. Think of guys like Jimmy Butler or Paul George. Both guys didn’t come into the league averaging over 20 points a game. They were looked at more as projects their respective teams hoped would pan out for the better. And they did. Bridges can reach that type of stardom in the NBA. It will just take a lot of work. If he can, the Hornets might not need to search for other stars in free agency in the offseason. They would just need guys to put around Bridges and LaMelo.