Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges and PJ Washington — An Awkward Fit

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

The Charlotte Hornets have a fit issue with two young prospects, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington, that probably needs to be figured out eventually.

PJ Washington has had a stellar rookie season so far and has far exceeded what I and most Charlotte Hornets fans expected from him. He looks poised to have a long NBA career with his skill-set and physicality.

PJ is the perfect modern NBA power-forward.

Miles Bridges has had a somewhat disappointing sophomore season, however, he has been asked to carry a huge responsibility defensively. so it makes sense to see him need time to learn how to adapt to his new style of play.

This was not Head Coach James Borrego’s plan. He previously stated that his plan was to start Miles at power-forward and to have PJ come off the bench before the season started.

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PJ had other plans when he decided to show out in preseason. He looked so primed to contributing right away that Borrego absolutely HAD to find a starting spot for him.

PJ exploded in his first regular-season NBA game when he erupted for 27 points and seven three-pointers! It became clear that PJ Washington needed to start.

That is where things got (and still are) murky. Miles and PJ start side by side with Miles at small-forward and PJ at power-forward.

At the end of the day, you essentially want your five best players to be in the starting lineup, or at least the five you want to see receive the most minutes and development.

Miles can play small-forward okay, however he is very limited on offense and struggles to stay engaged defensively. He is really more of a power-forward.

Sure, Miles may allow those same tendencies on defense to affect him at power-forward as well. Allowing him to primarily play there does not fix every problem in his game, but offensively he is much more engaged and most lineups make more sense with him there.

Miles has the frame and athleticism to become a good multipositional defender, so playing him at power-forward doesn’t hurt him there.

He has some bad habits that will undoubtedly carry over, but he can fix his poor off-ball defense by watching film and getting a better understanding of his surroundings. You’d like for him to already be cognizant of that stuff, but the good news is that part can be learned.

PJ Washington has to play at power-forward. He is too small to play at center for extended stretches and is not equipped to play small-forward. He is such a talented player who needs the minutes to develop. They both are.

This was a concern post-draft; Miles and PJ are similar players who play similar styles. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that their fit is less than ideal.

This is not an immediate issue that needs to be fixed before the trade deadline or else this rebuild is a failure! This could be an issue down the line, however, when one player seems to have stopped growing as a player.

If good talent was wasted by this rebuild’s end — that could be a giant disappointment.

Next. Hornets Midseason Report Card: PJ Washington. dark

Who knows? Maybe Miles figures it out at small-forward. Maybe this article will look silly when this is all said and done. I hope that this is able to be figured out by rebuild’s end, but I have my doubts about their fit alongside each other long term for the Charlotte Hornets.