As LaMelo Ball continues to shine brought on the offensive end of the floor, highlighted by his triple-double against the Hawks, his playing time has only increased in recent weeks. However, his improvements on the defensive end of the floor have been just as influential in him seeing more playing time.
While he still continues to learn the game, Ball has taken strides forward on both ends of the court, which head coach James Borrego discussed prior to Monday’s game.
“I’m seeing him improve and especially on the defensive end,” he said. “We’re still a work in progress here as a team, he’s still a work in progress there. Understanding weak-side and off-ball rotations, we have to get better in those areas I’ve seen growth from him there. But he’s impacting winning at multiple levels with the rebounding, passing, shot-making. That’s what impacts winning and he’s doing it at an extremely high level so he was a big part of that win the other night, as he was in New Orleans.
“He’s a young kid but he gets it and I expect him to get better, this is just the start for him. Nobody’s satisfied with where we’re at or where he’s at, he wants to get better, I want him to get better and we’re going to push him to do that.”
As a team, the Hornets rank as one of the best defensive sides in the league. Through Monday’s game, the team is seventh in defensive rating at 107.0. Not surprisingly, Ball has been a below-average defender relative to that figure with a defensive rating of 109.1. Conversely, though, the team is better offensively with Ball on the court rather than off it.
So far, it’s been a positive trade-off of worse defense with better offense when Ball is on the floor. For Borrego, though, it’s more of a stop along the way to a bigger goal.
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