Talk to Miles Bridges and you might be fooled into thinking he's a run-of-the mill rookie. He will describe the Charlotte Hornets, as "a hungry team trying to make the playoffs," tell you that he's listening to veterans like Tony Parker and Kemba Walker, that he is "getting better in practice every day," that coach James Borrego has told him that his role is "bringing energy to the team and being great on the defensive end." He will absolutely not tell you that he wants to make the 11 teams that passed on him in the draft feel sorry, that he might already be making progress in that area or that his presence on the Hornets' roster could completely change the dynamics of the team.
Bridges got his first preseason points by sprinting to the corner in transition and hitting a 3 set up by Walker, but he announced his presence in the NBA with a pair of thunderous put-back dunks. This happened in a meaningless exhibition against the Celtics at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, but you wouldn't have known it by the way the crowd went mad. Ask Bridges about it, though, and he will not sound as excited as you might think.
"That definitely helped my confidence," Bridges deadpanned. "And we got the win. I just want to continue to contribute to the team as much as I can on defense and on offense and see where we go from there."
Victories in the preseason are as relevant as parkas in July. On the phone after a shootaround, though, winning is the subject that most energized Bridges. Charlotte is coming off two consecutive 36-win seasons, but Bridges believes it has the right kind of personnel, the right kind of coach and the right kind of system to improve on that.