Miles Bridges' hearing will continue again on October 7th. It has been an ongoing process all summer long and now even into the thick of training camp. Bridges was a key piece to what the Charlotte Hornets did on both sides of the ball in the 2021-22 season. He was easily their most improved player after it appeared he was a more well-rounded player like the Hornets hoped he would be on draft night. Unfortunately for Bridges, until his situation is resolved for his accounts of domestic abuse, the Hornets will not sign him. Here's what that means for Charlotte.
Training camp is very important
Not that it was not already, but training camp and preseason is even more valuable to this young Hornets team. With Steve Clifford back with the Hornets, he is going to need to see what these young guys could do. More so of what guys at the wings could do for his team. Bridges became a solid two-way player overtime. Clifford is likely out searching for a holster of guys that will be able to do some of those same things for his squad. Bridges was a leader for this team as well. So being able to find someone that is capable of leading by example would be a good sign for this team moving forward.
As for the veterans on the Hornets, they get to ease into another season for sure. Guys like Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward get to steer this ship along with LaMelo Ball to make sure everyone is on top of their game. Communicating at practice, helping guys improve their game, and just being able to reciprocate that same friendly energy off the court as well.
PJ Washington's growth is super important
It has already been emphasized in the past. The more likely it looks like Bridges will not be a member of the team, the more likely it seems like PJ Washington is going to have to take a Miles Bridges kind of jump in terms of production. Bridges put up career highs across the board in the 2021-22 season in points, steals, assists, rebounds, and free throw attempts per game. Washington has to find a way to amp his production to that kind of level if not higher.
Even Clifford is relying on his forwards growth as well. He had this to say after a training camp practice:
“I’ve been really happy with PJ. He’s going to be a big part of this team. If we’re going to take a step and become a legitimate playoff team, he’s going to be on the floor.”
His game could determine whether or not the Hornets will be a tough team to beat. Or a “gimmie game” on the schedule. The pressure is on for the fourth year forward. After a few seasons everyone is able to see what type of impact you will have on your team if they do not blossom in year one. Washington should consider this a make break year for himself personally. He is due for a contract extension soon. 2022-23 will determine what kind of money he can warrant from general manager Mitch Kupchak and company.
The situation with Miles Bridges is an ugly one. Surely a bulk of Hornets fans are tired of hearing about it. Maybe the next hearing on October 7th will give the jury enough information to come to clear verdict. Until then, the Hornets will monitor the situation from a distance. Their main focus is to move forward with the players on roster.