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#pounditSaturday, May 15, 2021

Hornets coach critical of LaMelo Ball’s recent poor play

LaMelo Ball

Point guard is probably the position with the steepest learning curve for a rookie, and LaMelo Ball is certainly no exception.

Speaking with reporters Saturday, Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego was critical of Ball’s poor play over the last few games. Ball got benched by Borrego in the fourth quarter of a loss to Chicago on Friday.

“If you’re turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes, that ain’t gonna cut it for me,” Borrego said of Ball, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “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,” added Borrego. “He’s got to get better, bottom line. He’s engaged, he wants to get better. He’s capable of handling it. Last night, poor decision-making [with the ball], and I think that affected him on the defensive end.”

The 19-year-old Ball has actually looked like one of the best players from this year’s rookie class. He has emerged as a viable third guard for the Hornets, averaging 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.5 steals in 24.6 minutes per game. But Ball’s shooting splits (40-32-69) are pretty poor. He also now has 11 turnovers in his last three contests.

That said, the Hornets are still supremely confident in Ball. Some typical first-year struggles will simply come with the territory.

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