Charlotte Hornets rookie Miles Bridges took to Twitter over the weekend to take issue with an online article speculating Bridges wasn’t the Hornets’ best option in June’s draft.
The article, on the Hornets-oriented fan site swarmandsting.com, suggested the Hornets should have kept point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, rather than trade Gilgeous-Alexander’s draft rights to the Los Angeles Clippers in a prearranged draft-night deal. The Hornets got Michigan State forward Bridges and two future second-round picks.
The theme of the article was fairly benign, suggesting it was a close call but that Gilgeous-Alexander has more star potential. However it clearly drew Bridges’ ire. Sunday night, he retweeted a link to the article with the comment, “Bet” in response.
About an hour later, Hornets guard-forward Dwayne Bacon chimed in, adding on his own Twitter account, “Yea, whateverrrr, we good with my brother Miles Bridges.”
Players frequently use social media to monitor and react to how they’re perceived. Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker joked in September that NBA players “live for” social media.
Bacon backing up his teammate so quickly reflects how close the Hornets’ young players have become. Bridges, Bacon, Malik Monk and Devonte Graham started having weekly group dinners this season, and invited Walker to join them, nicknaming the group “Kemba and the Avengers.”
As far as the comparison of Gilgeous-Alexander and Bridges: Former Kentucky point guard Gilgeous-Alexander went 11th in the draft and Bridges went 12th. Both became starters as rookies. Gilgeous-Alexander was the higher scorer (10.8 points per game to Bridges’ 7.5) and a slightly better shooter (47.6 percent to 46.4 percent), but that was somewhat influenced by opportunity.
One factor discussed in the Swarm and Sting story, which also came up in the weeks leading to the draft: As a 6-6 point guard, Gilgeous-Alexander could have both backed up Walker and played with him at shooting guard. He also would have provided some insurance at the position against Walker possibly leaving in free-agency this summer.
However, the Hornets signed veteran point guard Tony Parker after the draft and developed a rookie point guard in Kansas’ Graham.