Hornets forward makes franchise history in loss to Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets
Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages

The Hornets lost their fifth straight game on Wednesday night, falling at home to the Chicago Bulls 117-110. The team is now 0-5 since trading away guard Terry Rozier, with the Bulls loss capping off an 0-4 homestand. And yet, this loss was not without bright spots.

The highlight of the evening was Miles Bridges, who played one of the best games of his career. In fact, it was a historical night for Bridges as he made a bit of franchise history.

In this era of NBA basketball, with gaudy stat lines popping up regularly, a 30/15/5 may not exactly seem eye-popping. Some of the league’s biggest stars even do this on a semi-regular basis. Nikola Jokic has accomplished the feat four times this season and Giannis Antetokounmpo has done it twice in his last five appearances.

Nevertheless, the fact that the best players on earth are capable of this, should not diminish the performance of Bridges. His two-way play inside and outside was a big part of the reason the Hornets were able to hang around, playing the Bulls to an 86-86 tie before eventually succumbing down the stretch.

How has no Hornet ever done this?

Sure, the Hornets don’t exactly have the richest history and lore, but the team has been around for over 30 years, and we’ve seen some damn good players suit up for this team. 

Franchise legends at the point guard position, like Kemba Walker and Baron Davis (and LaMelo Ball nowadays), could certainly get to the 30 points and 5 assists fairly often, but 15 rebounds was asking too much. Big men like Al Jefferson and Alonzo Mourning could get up to 30 points and 15 rebounds, but adding in the 5 assists was a tall task. 

The one player who immediately came to mind for this stat line was the Grandmama, Larry Johnson. LJ had the all-around skillset to hit each of these thresholds fairly often, but the stars never aligned to nail all three in the same game.

What does this mean for Bridges' future?

This just goes to show how rare and impressive the all-around showing was by Bridges, who has been playing very well lately amid frequent trade rumors involving the 25-year-old, currently playing out the final year of his contract for $7.9 million.

Games like he had on Wednesday night can only improve Bridges’ trade value, which was on full display. Just about every team in the league would love to have a player who has the ability to score 30 points, grab 15 rebounds, and dish out 5 dimes while knocking down 6 threes and blocking 3 shots in a game.

As the trade deadline approaches and several ambitious teams are watching their seasons slip away, the urgency to make a deal for an impact player may soon border on desperation. That’s great news for the Hornets as Bridges continues to play at a very high level. Hopefully, one of those teams is impressed enough to pony up a first-round pick or some promising young talent for Miles. But if not, at least it’s clear the Hornets have the Bird Rights to a very good player this offseason.