Analyzing the improvements made by Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges this season and projecting his ceiling

Defenses don't know what to do with Miles Bridges this season
Defenses don't know what to do with Miles Bridges this season

Miles Bridges has become a force for the Charlotte Hornets, and averaging 25 points, eight rebounds and two steals per game. Miles Bridges is not far off a 50/40/90 season, and if he improves slightly from deep (37% and the foul line 87%), he'll be there, and that will add instant credibility to a player that is being talked about the NBA over. Miles Bridges is a ferocious dunker, and paired with LaMelo Ball, the Charlotte Hornets have two potential NBA All-Stars to build around. As the Charlotte Hornets prepare to face Evan Mobley and the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, let's check out what's going on with Miles Bridges and what his incredible ceiling may be.

Miles Bridges has now

The 6'7" forward out of Michigan State via Huntington Prep is what every team needs: a powerful dunker who imposes his will on the defense unapologetically and with bad intentions. Miles Bridges will not allow a defender to get in the way of breaking the rim down hypothetically. Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball will eventually be some of the most feared tandems - if not already. As he improves defensively, the Charlotte Hornets will also improve. He has that type of impact, and is not just another ugly dunking face.There's more to his game. He spreads the floor with his three-ball tries, and slashing into the lane he not only looks to score but to pass to trailing teammates if he is defended at the rim. Miles Bridges has the luxury of teammates knowing where to get him the ball. Miles Bridges' shots are assisted on 51% of his baskets inside the line and a whopping 81% of his threes.

LaMelo Ball, we see you.

Improvements

Miles Bridges has drastically improved statistically this season. In 2020-21, Miles Bridges played a little over 29 minutes a game and attempted just 9.4 shots. That number has ballooned to 17.7 attempts this seasson and his shooting has increased from .503 to .508. Miles Bridges takes three more threes than last season and while his percentage has dipped from 40% to 37% this early NBA season, when he takes the shots is more important than ones Miles Bridges has missed. James Borrego wants his team to shoot as many threes in rhythm as possible and with so much of a heavy scoring burden on Miles Bridges, he has no recourse but to improve. If Miles Bridges keeps up this scoring pace, he will double his output of 12.7 per game. That would be incredible, and unless someone else also doubles their output, Miles Bridges will run away with the NBA Most Improved Player Award.

Playing alongside LaMelo Ball

Have you ever heard of NBA Jam? The 90's video game was a caricature of what a two on two would resemble complete with big headed players with cartoonish spring. LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges would have been perfect for that game. Their athleticism and punishing skillsets would leave opponents mad whether in the arcade or at home in front of the TV. If Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball keep this up, a reiteration of the classic game might be on deck. With Miles Bridges, LaMelo Ball has a reliable wing to get the ball to and shuffle the defense to the Hornets' will. It is then where James Borrego and the Charlotte Hornets are at an advantage. The way they shoot the rock, leading the NBA with 41% from deep, teams will be challenged to stop them in the half court offense. You'd think that's where the opposition wants to be with the Charlotte Hornets, yet the burgeoning coaching philosophy of James Borrego with ensuring teams do not have any confidence guarding the Hornets, and with two phenoms in the starting five, the NBA as a whole has to game plan for Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball the right way every night or get blown out in the worse way.

Is Miles Bridges a potential 2-way player?

It certainly appears so. He is great off isolation defense with his size, athleticism and strength. He will be asked to guard LeBron James, Luka Doncic and other superstars from here on out. The opposition has just a 9% rate of and ones against Miles Bridges. He is guarding players close and having a lot of success making sure they don't score against the 23 year old 225 pound small forward. James Borrego has stressed to his team that they will play better defense in the lane as well as out to the arc, and giving his young team such responsibility will only make them better when the heat is the hottest. Guarding the aforementioned, Miles Bridges has to slow down the stars as well as star on the offensive end himself.

Miles Bridges' ceiling

There will be comparisons. Miles Bridges will be compared to Kawhi Leonard as he develops. Imagine Kawhi Leonard with a charismatic flare. What does that look like? Miles Bridges. Comparisons are tricky, though, and as Miles Bridges matures, the only comparison that will matter is that of himself. The 5-1 Charlotte Hornets will win and lose on the back of their best scoring threat, and as Miles Bridges takes on even more team responsibility, he will undoubtedly become a better player under a system that will allow him to burst out the block and make teams take notice of just how good he is now and will be very soon. LaMelo Ball will help, and those playing basketball, think about the times on the asphalt or in the gym when you have a reliable player at your side. You almost appear in sync, and the passes thrown his or her way always lead to scores. So much so that you're shocked when the ball doesn't fall through the basket.

Or is rammed through the basket. That's more like Miles Bridges, who came off the bench last year. NBA fans, follow this stud, and when you see how good he is, imagine his star shining bright in front of the NBA world as one of the NBA's best players.

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Also Read: How long is LaMelo Ball's contract?

Poll : Will Miles Bridges win NBA Most Improved Player this season?

Emphatically so.

No, no way.

67 votes

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar