Miles Bridges’ rookie development should excite Charlotte Hornets fans

Charlotte Hornets Miles Bridges (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Miles Bridges (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Charlotte Hornets rookie Miles Bridges has shown signs of improvement late in the season. His play should have fans excited for the future.

He hasn’t played anywhere close to the level of fellow rookies Luka Doncic and Trae Young, but it appears that Miles Bridges is starting to figure things out for the Charlotte Hornets late into his rookie season.

It hasn’t always pretty for him, but Bridges has come a long way since that start of the season. He has clearly improved in a lot of areas throughout the year, and it shows with his play as of late.

Last night, Bridges had arguably the best game of his young career against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it just so happened to be on his 21st birthday.

Bridges ended the night with 11 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. It was the first double-double of his career, and most importantly, the Hornets came away with an important win and were able to (finally) finish off a close game.

I was very impressed with Bridges’ performance in this one. He was active all night defensively, he was attacking the basket aggressively and he was rebounding at a high level. Without him, the Hornets may not get this win.

After the game, Bridges credited his teammates for his career-game.

"“It’s a good day for me, man. I give all of the credit to my teammates. We did a great job on the defensive end. If we don’t do a good job on defensive end, I can’t get those boards, so a lot of credit to my teammates.”"

Bridges was right about the defense. Charlotte looked a lot better on that floor, allowing just 106 Minnesota points. They also forced 13 turnovers and a lot of damage on that end was caused by Bridges.

This hasn’t been his only good game in recent weeks, though. Bridges has scored in double-figures four times in the month of March and seems to be settling into his role as a starter. Overall, Bridges is averaging 7.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in March.

I know, those aren’t crazy numbers, but they are better than his season averages, and a lot of what he does doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. His defense and athleticism have given opponents trouble.

On the season, Bridges averages 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. Per 36 minutes, those averages bump up to 12.5 points and 7.0 rebounds.

I admittedly was not very high on Bridges prior to the 2018 NBA Draft, but he has changed my view on him with his play as a rookie. As long as he keeps improving, I see no reason why he won’t be a very good two-way player in this league.

The Hornets selected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in that draft, but ended up trading him to the Clippers in exchange for Bridges and two future second round picks. It’s a trade that has worked out well for both sides.

Gilgeous-Alexander is a starter on a very good Clippers team, and Bridges is a starter on a Hornets team fighting for the playoffs. Both players are versatile, allowing them to play multiple positions for their respective teams.

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11 games remain for the Charlotte Hornets, and they are going to need to keep getting this kind of production from their prized rookie. The playoffs may not be looking likely, but it’s not out of reach and the team will keep trying to get in.