The Charlotte Hornets have a tough history of superstars fighting almost alone to bring the franchise to the playoffs. The last example was point guard Kemba Walker who gave it all to lead the Hornets, who made the playoffs once during his stint.
With Michael Jordan as the franchise’s leader, someone would expect Charlotte to be a franchise effectuated with winning. Though, the team appeared once in the postseason since the franchise returned to his old branding and finished out of playoff contention the rest of the seasons.
The Hornets finished 10th in the Eastern Conference and reach the play-in tournament, but they were unable to make the postseason losing the first game of the tournament each of the last two seasons.
LaMelo Ball was the shining of a young squad that fought its way to the play-in with its high-octane offense fueled by LaMelo’s and Terry Rozier’s shot making in the perimeter. The Hornets are hoping to make the next step and make the postseason next year.
Ball will be a key to that, while Charlotte hopes to see other young prospect taking the next step and becoming more involved in the team’s game plan. As of now, the team seem to be far away from an elite team in the East.
LaMelo Ball should drag the franchise to a brighter future
Steve Clifford was the last head coach that led the Hornets to the postseason making Kemba Walker an All-Star leader and creating the space for the swift point guard to use his strengths in the best way possible.
The Charlotte fans hope to see Clifford following the same path with LaMelo Ball. Ball is already an All-Star and he has an impeccable talent which can be elevated as the former Chino Hills star becomes more experienced.
”We are going to play offensively with a very similar emphasis that they have played with the last couple of years,” Clifford said. ”Offense starts with playing through the strengths of your best players and Ball is a great talent with a passion for the game and a flair for playing in the open court and we want to take advantage of that.”
Ball changed his jersey number to no.1 and he’s ready to become a leader in his third season. The Hornets integrate Ball slowly in the first season but they quickly understood they had something special in him.
In 126 games in his NBA career, Ball averages 18.3 points, 7.0 assists and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Charlotte was a great offensive team with Ball on the floor putting up 114.0 points per 100 possession during last season.
“When they really put them keys in my hand, I feel like it’s gonna be a whole new situation. But until then, I’m gonna keep doing what I need to do, just try to get these wins,” Ball said, via Slam Online. “I ain’t gonna lie, every game I feel like I can do more than what I’m doing. It’s just [about] reading the whole game and reading the whole situation.”
As of now, Ball will be one of the most experienced players in the squad behind Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier and becoming the face of the Hornets’ team will be as important as ever.
The former No.3 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft has the ability to make his teammates better despite being elite in getting buckets. His usage was up from his rookie season and he contributed 5.8 win shares last season.
With Miles Bridges out of the picture, new head coach Steve Clifford should have All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier following closely. The rest of the roster is consisted of an injury-prone veteran in Gordon Hayward and a solid number of young players.
Ball has all the tools to succeed in the NBA entering his third season of his career in the league. Under a new head coach who is much more defensive oriented, but have a good history with All-Star caliber guards, Charlotte should win more than 43 games.
In a competitive Eastern Conference, the Hornets are hoping to at least make the playoffs, while it’s pretty obvious that the team has less offensive firepower as of now in contrast with the squad’s latest edition during the 2021-22 season.
Ball will need to become exceptional to push Charlotte back in the playoff scene after a six-year drought.
“’I look at this team as well put together, they fit well together and they can play a style that fits into what wins in this league right now,” Clifford said in his introductory press conference.