Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.
If you are new to the site, welcome to the Razz-party. You’ll feel smarter for having found this glorious blog, and feel silly for not finding it earlier in life, because life is too short to miss something this good .
A little refresher on my background, before getting into the meat of this post. I was a frequent flier to the blog for vital information on all every-day sports. A couple of years back, our fearless leader, Son, was looking for a few good writers. That is when Beyond the Glory was born, and three years later, it lives on. As a major Will Ferrell fan, the title of my dime is a play on the movie Blades of Glory, a true underdog story… if I’ve ever seen one. A play on words, as most of the players I write about are under-owned, under-valued or, sometimes, straight up overlooked in almost all fantasy leagues and formats. In other words, you’ll need to search well beyond the first ten names on the waiver wire to find the guys I like to target. In the past, I have more often than not focused on a single player per article, but this year I may dabble in a little bit of a different approach. I’ll be talking about three players per week; suggested pickups for 10-team, 12-team and 15-team or deeper, leagues. If that’s not living Beyond the Glory, I don’t know what is. As for the preseason content, I will be focusing on one player per week who could be a steal later in drafts, so stay tuned for some league winning content from now until opening night.
How many players get hyped up by LeBron James on social media, that aren’t his teammates? The answer is, not many. At the beginning of the 2018 season, while preseason games were winding down, LeBron went to the Twitter to talk about a certain high flying draft pick who landed in North Carolina with the Charlotte Hornets, Miles Bridges. While he struggled to crack the lineup for most of the 2018 season, there were still highlight reel plays coming from the 6’ 7″ forward out of Michigan State, left and right. A whopping 71 dunks in 80 games played from the rookie, accounted for 30% of his made baskets in 2018. Combine that with the 65 3PM and we have 57% of his field goals being monster dunks or threes. Is there a more fun asset to own in fantasy than a player who’s hitting the top-ten-plays on a nightly basis?
So it might be hard to imagine why I am touting a player who averaged 7.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game for most of the 2018 season. While the raw talent is apparent and the skill set is clear, the Hornets didn’t give Bridges a real shot in his rookie season. The explanation is simple. The Hornets were in playoff contention for the majority of the season, and with veteran leadership up and down the roster, from Kemba Walker to Marvin Williams, the Hornets didn’t give meaningful minutes to their young talent. That’s until most fantasy seasons ended and most stopped paying attention, but not us, we never stop watching.
With 12 games left in the season, and the Hornets playoff chances beginning to dwindle, Bridges was unleashed, making way for what should be an exciting 2019. Over that 12 game stretch, Bridges averaged 12 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 3PM, 1.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks on 52.7% shooting, 40% from three point land, and 80% FT%. That’s the type of upside we are looking at, and I would be remiss to not say this feels like the next Aaron Gordon; a high flying athlete with a little added flavor and a similarly developing outside game. 2019-20 is not going to be kind to the Hornets. With Bridges slated to start at power forward, he could be surrounded by Terry Rozier, Nicholas Batum, Dwayne Bacon, and Cody Zeller. Off the bench will be players like Malik Monk, Marvin Williams and Willy Hernangomez. There isn’t much to write home about, unless you’re excited about having a top-5 pick in the 2020 draft. In that case, get your pencil sharpened. Either way, this barren NBA wasteland could lead to some wholesome and satisfying fantasy value out of Mr. Miles Bridges. So, the question remains, would you walk 500 miles, or perhaps, 500 more, to select Miles Bridges this coming fantasy season? I certainly would.
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