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Charlotte Hornets lean on Miles Bridges for energy and enthusiasm
Forward’s playmaking sparks bench
 
Published Wednesday, March 31, 2021
by Herbert L. White

PHOTO | CHARLOTTE HORNETS
Miles Bridges brings energy and athleticism off the Charlotte Hornets bench, where he's adjusted to a new role with the arrival of Gordon Hayward.

Miles Bridges can’t play cool.


The Hornets forward brings passion and pace off the bench, along with an athletic ability that can hype a team. For Bridges, that often means doing something that’s worth yelling about.


“I feel like everyone needs that on their team,” he said. “Draymond [Green] does that for the Warriors, I try to do that for our team – bring energy, bring emotion to the game. Gordon [Hayward], Terry [Rozier] and Devonte’ [Graham] will hit a shot and have a straight face. If I hit a shot, I want to yell at the crowd and all that.  Everyone needs that on their team and I’m going to continue to try and bring that.”


That’s what Charlotte coach James Borrego is banking on, especially with rookie guard LaMelo Ball out indefinitely and likely for the season with a broken wrist. Charlotte’s bench will have to step up on both ends of the floor and Bridges, who averages 9.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game,  is a big part of the equation.


“He does so much for us,” Borrego said. “He’s a versatile player. I like him defensively. He allows us to switch. He can play one-on-one. He can have a presence at the rim. He changes our defense. He can rebound. So, I think the number one thing he brings us is a defensive edge and he allows us to do a number of things defensively that are in our favor.


“Offensively, he puts pressure on the rim. He can make shots. He can make plays. He’s a guy I trust on both ends of the floor. I think more than anything, he’s a two-way player that can impact both sides of the ball.”


Bridges is one of the more athletic Hornets, and often his activity above the rim offers an offensive spark. It isn’t just dunking that gets his teammates’ attention.


“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’m just trying to get everybody going, but at the end of the day, if we don’t get the win, those highlights don’t matter for me. So, I just want to try to ignite the team with my energy and continue to win games.  I think we’ve got a culture here now where we come into games looking at them like we can win this game and we want to keep that going.”


With Charlotte sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets will need more of Bridges’ fire when called upon.


“He can change the game just like that because of his athleticism (with) put backs and all that type of stuff,” guard Devonte Graham said. “No one else on the team can really bring that energy and that passion. He definitely is the biggest energy guy for us.”

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