With the playoffs just around the corner, the Charlotte Hornets are currently sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They have a good chance of making the playoffs through the play-in tourney — which isn't necessarily a reason for celebrating. After all, the organization has LaMelo Ball — easily one of the fastest rising stars in the league today. With his presence, one would hope that the Hornets are at least a mid-tier team. Ball is aware of his team's underperformance and knows exactly what his team needs as young as he is.
Big man needed
From Ball's perspective, the Hornets need a solid big man who can do all the dirty work. For him, a legitimate big man is a missing piece to the puzzle. The 20-year-old also hinted that he needs the ball in his hands more and to be allowed to operate.
Ball's requests regarding a big man are not new to Hornets fans. Before the season began, it was already crystal clear that the team needed a formidable center — preferably an All-Star caliber one. Hypothetical trade scenarios included names like Myles Turner and Karl-Anthony Towns. There is no doubt that these two big men would positively impact the Hornets.
As we all know, things didn't pan out that way. The Hornets weren't able to get Turner or Towns. Instead, they ended up with Mason Plumlee — a veteran who knows how to play. But in terms of helping the team get to the next level, Plumlee isn't on that level, unfortunately.
Ball's first marching orders
This is Ball's first request from the team. This may be a critical development that we should keep an eye on. We can't fully say that Ball has enough leverage to pressure the front office. However, this doesn't mean that they will ignore Ball's request.
As such, it's a matter of wait-and-see at this point. As noted, the narrative doesn't lie in the Hornets' road to the playoffs. Suppose they make it; good for them as they'll gather playoff experience, which is always valuable. If they don't, then it does not matter that much. The narrative lies in the front office's capacity to form a solid roster around Ball. And the All-Star has already uttered precisely what he wants.