LaMelo Ball Needs to Take 'Major Steps' in Offseason, Hornets' Borrego Says

Adam WellsMay 19, 2021

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball will likely be named NBA Rookie of the Year, but his head coach still wants to see the 19-year-old get better before next season. 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, James Borrego explained that the organization is going to "take some major steps" to get Ball prepared for the 2021-22 campaign. 

Borrego said those steps include "his body, and then working through offense and defense.”

The Hornets' season came to an end on Tuesday with a 144-117 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the play-in tournament. Ball had just 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting, four assists and four turnovers in the game.

Despite missing out on the NBA playoffs, this season was a massive step forward for the Hornets. They were in postseason contention until their final game and were over .500 as late as April 13. 

Charlotte did all of that despite not having Ball for 21 games from March 22-April 28 because of a broken wrist. His shooting form didn't come back, as he made just 38.4 percent of his field-goal attempts over the final 10 games of the regular season. 

When the injury initially occurred, the expectation was that Ball would likely miss the remainder of the season. 

Ball finished his first year averaging 15.7 points on 43.6 percent shooting, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds in 51 appearances. 

The Hornets will be able to build their roster around him as they look to challenge for a playoff spot again next season.