(All highlights and stats in this article are from the 2020-21 season.)
Miles Bridges is best known around the league for his dunking ability. I’m sure you’ve seen his dunks before, but if you haven’t, here’s one of my favorites.
He had plenty more like that this season. He had 82 total dunks in the 2021 season, which was 21st most in the league.
But Miles is more than a dunker. That’s what this article is about. Miles is a smooth, highly skilled player who will be an All-Star one day. Let’s take a dive into his game.
Miles has a nice looking jumpshot, and is a capable shooter. He shot 40% from three on 4.4 attempts per game this season (32% of this three point attempts came from the corner, and he made 44% of those shots). His season high was 6 3PM, and he made 3 or more in 18 games.
He can hit shots off the catch, but he also can create a shot. 18% of his threes were unassisted this season.
Here you see Miles use a nice stepback to create space to hit the three.
Here’s another nice move. Miles pops off the screen, fakes the drive, and then steps back for the three.
Because Miles is so good at driving to the hoop and finishing, defenders have to respect that when guarding him. That’s why I love the moves he used in the clips. He faked like he was going to drive, and then hit the open shot. The ability to get to the basket and hit jumpshots makes you a lot harder to guard because the defender doesn’t know what you’re going to do.
Miles isn’t a very good mid-range shooter (just 23% on shots between 16 feet and the 3PT line), but only 3% of his shots came from that range.
Here’s a nice pull up shot off the fake. His stroke looks good. I think he could be a better mid range shooter if he shot more.
Miles doesn’t need a mid-range shot, because it’s not used often in today’s NBA. However, being a consistent threat from all three levels would take his scoring to the next level. Just look at guys like Tatum, Middleton, and Ingram.
This article is about how he’s more than just a dunker, so I have to talk about his ability to finish in general. He’s versatile with the way he finishes.
He can be crafty.
He’s electric in transition.
He’s not only a lob catcher in transition. Here’s a nice eurostep.
Miles is also a strong finisher who plays through contact. Here he finishes the layup despite taking contact throughout his drive.
Miles uses his high vertical to grab rebounds. He averaged 6 rebounds per game, and had double digit rebounds in 11 games.
Watch this play. Miles is at the three point line when Hayward puts up the shot. He swoops in out of nowhere past Mikal Bridges for the sweet putback dunk.
Because Miles played with multiple players that use the ball a lot (LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward), he rarely got the opportunity to show his playmaking abilities.
But, when those guys weren’t playing, Miles showed what he can do. His season high in assists (6) came in a game where LaMelo and Hayward were injured. In the month of April, Miles averaged 3 assists per game (9 games with 3 or more assists).
Here’s some good passes Miles has made:
The pass you just watched reminded me of something, so I’m throwing it in for fun. Here’s me throwing an absolute dot of a pass.
Ok, back to Miles Bridges
Miles isn’t an excellent playmaker (lots of his assists come off of handoffs), but passes like the ones in this article show me he is a capable one. Capable is a good start, and he will get better when he has the ball in his hands more.
Miles is a solid defensive player. His overall defensive RAPTOR is +0.2 (That means he’s a positive defender. Read this article to learn about what RAPTOR is), and his on/off defensive RAPTOR is +1.0 (meaning the Hornets are better defensively when Miles is on the floor).
The eye test also shows Miles can play defense. Here, he’s guarding Kawhi Leonard. Miles stays in front of Kawhi, doesn’t fall for the pump fake, and forces the miss.
Here Miles plays great help defense and forces Tatum into a tough fadeaway.
Here, Miles shows good lateral quickness as he keeps up with Steph and forces him into a tough shot.
Here Miles is in good help position and blocks Giannis (not an easy task).
Miles often uses his speed and vertical to block shots.
Fit in Charlotte
There’s one thing holding Miles back right now, and that’s the loaded frontcourt in Charlotte.
Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre, Cody Martin, and Jalen McDaniels are all players that will be getting minutes at the forward position this season. That means less playing time for Miles. The big problem is Kelly Oubre. He and Miles are very similar players. I like his skillset in Charlotte, but I don’t like his fit because Miles is already there.
I would like to see more small ball lineups in Charlotte a lot this year. LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington played 53 minutes together in 2021. In those minutes, they outscored opponents by 6.5 points (per 100 possesions).
In conclusion, Miles Bridges does it all. That versatility shows me he has a bright future ahead of him. Soon, he will be the starter in Charlotte. When that happens, I think he will be an All-Star.
So, did you enjoy this dive into Miles Bridges’s game? Let me know! If you did, I will totally do an article like this for other players in the future. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!
(I just made you read an article about Miles Bridges with only a couple dunks included. So, now that you’re done, here’s a compilation of his best dunks.)