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Miles Bridges brings character and versatility to the Hornets
Forward was second-team All-America as sophomore
 
Published Thursday, June 21, 2018 10:02 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Miles Bridges was acquired by the Charlotte Hornets in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday in the NBA Draft's first round. Bridges was the 13th pick overall.

The Charlotte Hornets went for a swingman with character.

Charlotte acquired Michigan State’s Miles Bridges by trading No. 11 overall selection Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Clippers for the No. 12 overall pick. The Hornets also received two second-round picks: Cleveland’s in 2020 and the Clippers’ in 2021.

“We liked the fact that he was one of the highest character players in the draft,” Charlotte General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “Very athletic [at 6-foot-7], plays very hard, versatile—we think he can defend at least four positions. He’s a great kid. He’s young enough to where he’s going to get better. He works hard. He’s from a great program. There’s not much not to like about Miles Bridges. We’re excited, and we’re looking forward to getting him in tomorrow, and starting our summer program in about 10 days.”

Said Bridges: “Off the court, I’m a simple guy. I don’t do much. I like to hang with my teammates, listen to music. I just be chillin’ and I like to watch a lot of basketball when I’m off the court.”

Bridges was not among the 69 players Charlotte worked out prior to the draft. Kupchak confirmed Bridges did not make himself available.

“I was in Los Angeles, and something came up,” Bridges said.

Hornets coach James Borrego noted during his initial press conference that he would establish a strong defensive team, and Kupchak acquired Bridges for his defensive qualities.

“I think he’s ready to help us immediately in that area,” Kupchak said. “Offensively, I think he’s going to have to get better on parts of his game that would be conducive to playing in the NBA.”

Bridges averaged 17 points per game, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Spartans in his final season. He earned a place on the All-Big 10 First Team in 2018, as well as 2018 consensus Second Team All-America. Bridges also earned a spot as a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award and top-10 for the Naismith National Player of the Year.

“He was the player that we targeted,” Kupchak said. “We had him ranked the highest on our board, and were able to convert the trade and the player into some additional assets. We’re excited to have Miles on board, and we hope to have him here tomorrow morning.”

Said Bridges: “Offensively, I got better at my ball-handling so I could create my own shot. Just being a threat everywhere on the floor, from the three [-point arc] to the midrange to getting to the basket. I feel like in my college career I could have been more aggressive, so I definitely want to be more aggressive getting to the basket.”

Bridges will meet Hornets fans at the Fan Shop at Spectrum Center tomorrow from 12:30-1 p.m.

“I think you’ll love the kid, personally,” Kupchak said. “I think you’ll love watching the way he plays.”

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