The Charlotte Hornets have won five of the last nine games behind emerging young talents including LaMelo Ball.
Just 16 games into the 2020-21 season, the rookie is reportedly already upset with the role he has been given and according to his father, LaVar, who believes it’s time to stop coming off the bench.
“My thing is, he ain’t happy with that, but he ain’t going to show that,” LaVar Ball told TMZ Sports. “If I train you to be the best and always have been starting all your life — here is what they don’t get. My boys are not freakin’ role players. They are superstars! Let them do what they do.”
LaMelo Ball is one of the most exciting young players in the league this season. The first-ever Ball brothers meeting against his brother, Lonzo, and the New Orleans Pelicans was featured on national TV earlier this season, with LaMelo one assist shy of a triple-double. He then followed that up the next night by becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.
While the 19-year-old has shown flashes of greatness, you can’t overlook the inconsistencies. Hornets coach James Borrego responded to LaVar’s comments by saying, “If you’re turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes, that ain’t gonna cut it for me,” Borrego told The Charlotte Observer Saturday.
Ball currently leads the Hornets with 2.3 turnovers per game.
“If you’re doing that on the offensive end, you better be bringing something defensively. He had a stretch where he played extremely well. We need to find that again. He’s got to get better, bottom line. He’s engaged, he wants to get better. He’s capable of handling it.”
Borrego chose to scale back the rookie’s playing time over the past three games, but pushed him back up to 28 minutes on Sunday against the Orlando Magic. Ball finished with 11 points, 8 assists and five rebounds.
LaMelo dismissed his father’s comments of dissatisfaction and set the record straight with Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer on Saturday.
“No. It’s basketball. It’s a whole chemistry” thing, LaMelo Ball said. “I’m coming in (off the bench). It’s not something where I’ve been here four years, or something like that. It’s just basketball.”
The Hornets are nearing a .500 record and sit at 7-9, which is one game behind the lead in the Southeast Standings with the Atlanta Hawks at 8-8. Charlotte snapped a four-game losing streak with a 107-104 win on Sunday night.
Borrego is faced with letting Ball play through the mistakes as a starter or keep the team going down the current path. It’s not the worst possible decision to have Ball develop into the role slowly over the next couple months. But does that come at the price of winning more games? Charlotte finishes a road back-to-back in Orlando tonight (7 p.m. Tip/ Radio: WFNZ).