James Borrego: LaMelo Ball has shown ‘tremendous’ growth this season

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Cody Taylor
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, during the first half of the season, emerged as one of the top rookies and a huge reason for that success is the improvements made seemingly every night on the court.

The play of Ball this season has forced many to change their opinion of his overall game. While fans have had to change course, players themselves have also had to do the same with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green the latest to offer praise to Ball.

Ball, through 36 games played, is averaging 15.6 points, 6.4 assists, six rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He was twice named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month this season and is the likely frontrunner for Rookie of the Year.

Hornets head coach James Borrego spoke Saturday about his progression.

He has improved in basically every area from the day he stepped in here. I think now that he’s comfortable with his teammates and the system, it’s really about managing the game. I think a lot of his early-season success and his play were built off just straight instinct just how he plays as a basketball player.

But now, he’s starting to think the game, think about time, situation, who needs a touch, who needs a call and he’s starting to become more of a manager of the game than just a player of the game. That’s really been big for us and that’s probably going to be the biggest step you see the rest of the way this season.

Toward the end of the first half of the season, Ball was inserted into the starting lineup with the Hornets dealing with multiple injuries. With the Hornets now fully healthy, the team decided to keep Ball in with the starters given his strong play.

The decision to keep Ball in the starting lineup was likely a bit easier to make given the progress he is making on the defensive end of the floor. The team would sometimes be forced to keep him off the floor in certain situations, but that is no longer the case given the strides he has shown.

“Defensively, he’s improving every single night,” Borrego said. “We’re not where we need to be. This is new for him – this is a new system, a new league, he’s got new personnel. Every night he has to learn and we’re doing it on the fly. There’s not a lot of practice time.

“I don’t get to drill with him for two days straight before we play a game. Literally, we’re going from game-to-game and he’s having to learn this on the fly. He’s attentive, he’s very coachable, he picks things up quickly, so a tremendous amount of growth from day one.”

Based on the early success of Ball, and the rest of the team, the Hornets are right in the thick of the playoff race. The team has performed well to this point and will be looking to continue its momentum to begin the second half of the season.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

Related

Report: Warriors made a promise to select LaMelo Ball in NBA draft

Michael Jordan on LaMelo Ball: 'He has exceeded our expectations'

Draymond Green reacts to LaMelo Ball's double-double in win vs. Kings

List

Rookie Wire Power Rankings: LaMelo Ball once again reigns supreme