Miles Bridges‘ versatility convinced Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak to take a chance on him in the first round.
Bridges is thrilled he did.
The Hornets wound up with the Michigan State wingman in the first round of the NBA draft after trading down one spot with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Charlotte initially selected point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky with the 11th overall pick Josh Jackson Jersey , but traded him to the Clippers for the 12th overall pick and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021. The Clippers then selected Bridges for the Hornets.
”He’s one of the highest character players in the draft, very athletic, plays hard and he’s very versatile,” Kupchak said. ”… There is not much to not like about Miles Bridges.”
Charlotte later traded up to No. 34 overall with Atlanta to draft Kansas point guard Devonte Graham, a consensus All-American who averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists per game last season. Graham, who is from Raleigh, North Carolina, is expected to backup two-time All-Star Kemba Walker, providing the team doesn’t trade him. The Hornets surrendered second round picks in 2019 and 2023 to get him.
Charlotte initially took shooting guard Hamiduo Diallo from Kentucky at No. 45 as part of the impending trade that will send Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets, but then sent his rights to Oklahoma City.
The Hornets drafted Arnoldas Kulboka from Lithunia at No. 55.
Kupchak said Bridges can play both the three and four position on offense at the NBA level just as he did at Michigan State Authentic Ryan McDonagh Jersey , and also has the size and athleticism to guard four positions on defense.
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Bridges was a unanimous All Big 10 first team choice after averaging 17 points and seven rebounds last season for the Spartans. He ranked sixth in the Big Ten in scoring last season, 11th in rebounding and fourth in free throw percentage (85.3 percent).
Bridges is expected to be a better offensive option at small forward than starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is considered a strong defender but not a great scorer. Bridges has an NBA ready body and is one of the most explosive leapers in the draft. He scored frequently on perimeter spot ups and off screens while with the Spartans as well as on pick and roll opportunities.
”I want to get better at ball handling so I can create my own shot and just be a threat everywhere on the floor from the 3 to mid-range to getting to the basket,” Bridges said. ”I definitely want to be more aggressive. I felt like in my college career I could have been more aggressive.”
Bridges did not work out for the Hornets despite the team’s repeated attempts to bring him in. Bridges said he had planned to visit after working out in Los Angeles, but ”something popped up.”
Some Hornets fans on social media were upset over the team’s decision to pass on Michael Porter Jr., who went two picks later to the Denver Nuggets.
Kupchak said the team had talked extensively about Porter in the weeks leading up the draft but decided to ”move in a different direction” after he cancelled the playing portion of his scheduled workout in Chicago.
Kupchak is off to a busy start as Hornets general manager.
His decision to trade down comes one day after agreeing to trade Howard, an eight-time All-Star center, to the Brooklyn for center Timofey Mozgov and two second-round draft picks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the league cannot approve the deal until the trade moratorium ends on July 6.
The 32-year-old Howard was due to make $23.8 million in the final year of his contract next season.
The Hornets failed to make the playoffs last season for the third time in four seasons Joe Thomas Browns Jersey , prompting owner Michael Jordan to part ways with general manager Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford.
Kupchak hired James Borrego as the team’s new head coach in May.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals, two diametrically opposite clubs, meet in a three-game series beginning Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
To say they are polar extremes would not be an exaggeration.
The Red Sox own the best record in the majors at 59-29. They have won eight of their past 10 and 10 of their past 13. They are 30 games over .500 for the first since they ended the 2013 season 32 games above.
Boston leads the American League with 463 runs and has outscored its opponents by 130 runs.
On the flip side, the Royals have lost six straight, 18 of 21 and 25 of 30. They are 25-61 and are 36 games below .500 for the first time since ending the 2006 season 62-100.
Kansas City ranks last in the American League with 297 runs and has been outscored by 167 runs.
“We didn’t have opportunities to manufacture runs,” manager Ned Yost told reporters after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. “We had opportunities with runners in scoring position that we couldn’t capitalize on. And that’s been a major problem for us all year long.”
The Red Sox are 31-17 on the road. The Royals have lost 12 of their last 13 games at Kauffman Stadium and their 11-32 home record is the worst in the majors.
The Royals have not scored more than four runs in 25 of their last 26 games. They have failed to collect double-figure hits in 25 of their last 26 games and are batting .191 with 55 runs in that stretch.
And who do the Royals face in the opener of this series?
None other than dominant left-hander Chris Sale, who leads the American League with 164 strikeouts and is averaging 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Opponents own a .179 batting average versus Sale (8-4, 2.41 ERA).
“He looks like the best pitcher in the big leagues right now,” Boston manager Alex Cora said.
Sale Jaire Alexander Jersey Youth , who ranks among the league leaders in overall ERA, owns a 2.32 road ERA and a 2.45 night ERA. He enters the game having not allowed a run in his past 15 innings. Sale is 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA in his past five starts after striking out and allowing a first-inning single to Giancarlo Stanton in seven dominant innings in an 11-0 win at Yankee Stadium over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
“He was outstanding again,” Cora said. “Fastball command and off-speed pitches, it was a great performance.”
Sale is 10-10 with a 2.92 ERA in 33 career appearances, 22 starts, against Kansas City. He held the Royals to two runs and five hits while walking two and striking out six over seven innings in a no-decision on May 1 at Fenway Park. Sale is 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in his last four starts in Kansas City, striking out 34 and walking five.
The Royals will counter with right-hander Jason Hammel, who is 2-10 with a 5.56 ERA. He is tied for the AL lead in losses and has yielded 15 runs in his last two starts. He is 0-5 with a 4.33 ERA in seven home starts this season.
Against the Red Sox, Hammel is 3-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 16 career appearances, nine of them starts. He dropped a 10-6 decision on April 30 to Boston Leighton Vander Youth Esch Jersey , allowing eight runs on eight hits, including a pair of home runs, and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
While Sale was the AL Pitcher of the Month for June, Hammel went 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA in six starts last month after ending May with back-to-back victories.
Hammel’s biggest challenge will be Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. They rank 1-2 in the majors in slugging percentage with Betts at .669 and Martinez .642.
Betts has 21 home runs and a .338 batting average. Martinez is hitting .327 with a major league-best 26 home runs, which is more than any Boston player hit in 2017.
Betts also hit three homers at Fenway Park on May 2 and went 4-for-4 in that game.