Charlotte Hornets Player Preview: LaMelo Ball can take the next step

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets are days away from starting the new season and players have set the expectations quite high for themselves as they head into the new year. It’s been stated they the Hornets want to contend for the playoffs and win a playoff serious.

Winning a playoff serious would be very appreciated from a fan perspective, and all of that starts with the development of LaMelo Ball. The reigning Rookie of the Year is coming off a very impressive season where he averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game.

If LaMelo Ball can unlock his scoring potential he could expedite his development into being one of the league’s true superstars. 

Ball is very talented already but he is nowhere near being a finished product. If he can clear the next jump in his development the Hornets could be looking at a solidified star in only his second NBA season.

The blueprint for this could follow along with Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic. Ball and Doncic had similar concerns entering the NBA; Not great athletes, inconsistent shooters, not engaged on defense. Now both are rookie of the year winners and Doncic is a front runner to win the MVP award. Can Ball be in that same conversation after this year?

This is easier said than done and the Hornets would be VERY lucky if Ball can replicate the success that Doncic has. However, there’s a chance that we Hornets fans can be talking about one of our players being a potential MVP for years to come.

The Charlotte front office has recognized his talent and is doing what they can to already begin the process of surrounding him with talent. Extending Terry Rozier, signing Kelly Oubre Jr., and trying to draft a co-star to develop in James Bouknight and/or Kai Jones are all moves made with Ball in the back of their minds.

The extension of Miles Bridges will come, do not worry.

Now, it’s up to Ball to become the player that everyone knows he can be. He’s already one of the best playmakers in the NBA, the next step is finding ways to be a more efficient scorer to increase his scoring output.

We have seen this a little bit already during the preseason. Ball’s touch on his floater game looks to be improved and he seems to have developed this stage of his game. In time this should unlock other aspects of his game like finishing around the rim since defenders will have to respect his floater.

You also would love to see his three-point percentage rise a little bit. He shot the ball better than expected last season, hitting 35.2% of his shots, if he can stay around that range or get it closer to that 40% mark, Ball will ascend to the next level.

There’s no doubt in everyone’s mind that Ball will at some point be a superstar. He’s already a superstar off the court. It’s important to remember that he’s only 20 years old so there’s no rush.

How quickly he reaches this mark on the court is the question at hand.

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