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LaMelo Ball is a work in progress but the Charlotte Hornets need him to grow up fast

The Charlotte Hornets made the play-in tournament twice in two years and got booted both times. If they want to go further, it will depend on how fast LaMelo Ball develops.
LaMelo Ball is a work in progress but the Charlotte Hornets need him to grow up fast

LaMelo Ball has the potential to be the best guard in the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets need him to become one of those elite players

As much promise and potential LaMelo Ball has displayed so far in his career, the truth is that he still needs time to adjust to NBA life and lead a franchise back to respectability. If the Charlotte Hornets want to get to the next level, they need their flashy point guard to grow up fast.

LaMelo’s disappointing postseason performance

Much has been said about the hype surrounding LaMelo Ball. The kid is for real. Growing up in a celebrity household and under the bright lights even before entering the professional scene could make or break any young, aspiring basketball player. But not Ball. He embraced it all and used his skills to shut his critics up and turn them into fans.

In his first season in the league, Ball averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 assists. The Hornets reached the play-in that year but were eventually bounced off by the Indiana Pacers, 144-117. In that pivotal game, Melo only scored 14 points, shooting 4 of 14 from the field, with one rebound and four assists. Call it a learning curve or playoff jitters, but it was understandable and expected from a rookie no matter how highly touted he is. The NBA is simply a different beast.

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Come his second year, Ball hiked his regular-season numbers. He averaged 20.1 points and 7.6 assists. He also made the All-Star game as a reserve. Given his improved numbers and a year of experience under his belt, fans expected a different result for the elimination game against the Atlanta Hawks for the right to enter the play-in tournament. Instead, the Hornets were beaten by 30 points. Melo scored 26 points on 7 of 25 shooting, together with five rebounds and seven assists. His play-in numbers improved but still lacked efficiency.

The fans know Ball has what it takes to become the franchise player of Charlotte. The front office knows this, too. It’s now up to Melo to improve. But the Hornets might not have that too much time to let him develop.

The future remains bright for Melo, Hornets

The reality is that Melo is still young. We quickly forget how young he is because he’s been in the spotlight for such a long time. He played professionally overseas before coming into the NBA but the NBA is still different. Ball’s postseason numbers prove he still has a lot to learn and he must grow into a team leader fast.

His progress as a player could be a big factor in attracting superstars to come and play in Charlotte. A pass-first point guard with similarities to Magic Johnson’s flair on the court, the future remains bright for the exciting guard. Getting into the play-in tournament for the first two seasons in the NBA is already an achievement on its own. Next year, the target remains the entrance to the playoffs, and how far the Charlotte Hornets will go depends on how far LaMelo Ball will take them.

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