James Borrego says it’s best for LaMelo Ball to come off bench early in season

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Jacob Rude
·2 min read
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With LaMelo Ball trending upward in his rookie season, the calls for Ball to enter the starting lineup have only grown louder and louder. Starting point guard Devonte Graham’s early-season slump certainly did not help stymy the calls for Ball to supplant him as a starter, but head coach James Borrego never wavered.

Graham, though, has slowly come out of his shooting slump in recent games. That has coincided with Ball’s best stretch of the season as he averaged 14.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists in the three games leading into Wednesday’s game against Dallas.

Borrego discussed the lineup ahead of meeting the Mavericks and explained why no changes would be coming in the near future.

“The lineup is the same,” he said. “This is where we’re at. This is where we started the season: bringing him off the bench. I feel comfortable with that right now. Whether that changes down the road, I don’t know. Time will tell. I like our rhythm. I like where we’re at. We’ll obviously look different with him as a starter someday. We’re not there right now.

“I’m just focusing on this group right now, our rotations right now. When we get to that point, we’ll adjust, but for right now, this is what works for us and I believe it’s what’s best for LaMelo as well and our team. That’s the decision I’m going with and I’m sticking to it right now.”

The Hornets are clearly taking the patent approach for Ball, as they did with Graham as a starter during his slump. On top of the team playing well in recent weeks, Ball is also seeing 28.4 minutes per game over eight games preceding Wednesday.

For Borrego and Charlotte, right now the strategy is to not fix what isn’t broken.

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