Miles Bridges fell below the radar a bit coming out of college, but he showed his NBA upside on Tuesday night.
Miles Bridges is a rare top NBA prospect who was not a one-and-done in college, as he chose to come back for a second year at Michigan State. His numbers stayed pretty much the same as a sophomore though, and the Charlotte Hornets took him No. 12 overall in June’s draft. When it’s all said and done, he could become a steal.
Bridges has yet to start a game this season, but he is averaging a solid 19.5 minutes per game over the first 10 games. Coach James Borrego hinted at some lineup changes toward the end of October, and not coincidentally Bridges has played 20 or more minutes in four of six games since.
Bridges finished Tuesday night’s 113-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks with nine points (4-for-9 from the floor), three rebounds and one assist over 20 minutes of action. But in the first quarter, two of those points served as a display of Bridges’ upside.
After Bridges took a shot from the corner, the Hawks seemed to completely forget about him. To his credit he recognized it, cutting along the baseline to get the pass off the offensive rebound from Willy Hernangomez. Atlanta center Dewayne Dedmon is now on the bad part of the poster and endless social media clips. Hornets guard Kemba Walker, on the bench at the time, was impressed with Bridges’ dunk.
Bridges was touted as an NBA-ready prospect from a physical standpoint before being drafted, and he’s showing his pro-readiness in other ways too. After venturing out to the 3-point line a little more often last year for Tom Izzo (5.7 attempts per game; 5.1 attempts per game as a freshman), Bridges is averaging 2.5 3-point attempts per game so far this season (4.6 per-36 minutes). But if he keeps doing things like he did Tuesday night, he’s on his way to making a highly anticipated appearance in the dunk contest during All-Star weekend.