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Thread: Official 2020-2021 Charlotte Hornets Thread - Welcome to the LaGordo Era

  1. #261

  2. #262
    Quote Originally Posted by RJKarl View Post
    Glorifying a traitor to support your team...never change 2&2.
    I think it's ok to have some fun, and I'll take fun where I can get it as far as the Hornets are concerned.

  3. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJKarl View Post
    Glorifying a traitor to support your team...never change 2&2.
    Yeah, it's not like we're the fans of the LA team that elevated a player who raped a teeager to demigod status after his death.

  4. #264
    Big game tonight. Win or lose, at least we donít have to live in philly.

  5. #265
    I don't see us winning tonight, especially with PJ and Rozier injured. We should play them better than the last go round when Zeller was out and Biz was the only active big, but now without PJ I don't see Embiid the Whiny Bitch and his gang of three stripes not getting the outcome the league wants.

    Nonetheless, this is probably the most exciting Hornets team since Grandmama. They are probably the most fun team in the league to watch, and the 3 consecutive wins against the Pacers, Bucks, and now-healthy Heat may be the best 3-game stretch of any team this season. Throw in the wins against the Nets, Hawks, and Mavs, and this team has proven they can beat anybody. Of course, they can also lose to anyone as multiple losses to the Cavs, Thunder, and Magic have shown. But, that is the struggle of a young team.

    But the talent level is ridiculous. They have like 5 guys - Hayward, LaMelo, post-Rona-Monk, Devonte, and Rozier - who can all be the best player on the floor and carry the team on any given night. Bridges is a human highlight reel every single game, and the Monky Balls backcourt is probably the best coming off the bench in the league. PJ and Zeller are both solid with flashes of stellar.

    I can't see a scenario where LaMelo is not the ROY. He has his ups and downs, but his overall level of play for someone who just turned 19 is crazy. His passing is already top-5 in the league. As he has been getting more comfortable finishing around the rim his game has improved dramatically. And he is nowhere close to the bum on defense that was predicted, he is actually pretty disruptive. Against the Bucks, he was by far the best player on the floor in the 4th quarter, and that includes Giannis.

    They will still lose a lot of games this year, but if they can keep this young group growing together they will be really, really good down the road.

  6. #266
    What is the word on Rozier and PJ Washington injuries? Extended absence for either of them?

  7. #267
    I don't think so, but both are ankle sprains so you never know. I imagine they'll be cautious with both given the compressed schedule - a lot of games in not many days. PJ is especially important as the frontcourt is where the major roster hole is, so he has been playing a lot of small-ball 5 when Zeller rests. Biyombo sucks and really shouldn't be playing more than 5 minutes or so a game at this point in his career, so they need to make sure PJ is fully healthy.

  8. #268
    it seems like the hornets should have some trade ammo with a glut of guards - graham / rozier / monk to make way to LaMelo, but it's such a guard heavy league there aren't many teams that need a PG. maybe the 76ers could use Rozier or Graham, but not sure what we'd want in return.

  9. #269
    They need a guy like Jarrett Allen or WCS who can run the floor, block some shots, and rebound. But I'm not sure giving up one of the three you mentioned is worth it for a guy like that at the team's current stage. Rozier's production is solid for his contract. Graham probably gets a contract similar to Rozier, and they have enough cap room where they can probably afford to re-sign both Graham and Monk (and Zeller as well) after this season and run it back next year with another year's growth from everyone involved. Then Rozier expires after next year and they have to make a choice between him and Bridges (probably go with Bridges).

    So unless they really get blown away with an offer for Rozier I think they likely stay as-is. The key to their success is having a flood of guys who can all light it up, so there isn't much drop-off from the first to second unit, so losing one of those guys would hamper that ability. Combine that with Hayward's ability and LaMelo's trajectory and things look bright for the future with the current makeup. They drafted Carey and Richards this year, and hopefully one of them or whoever they draft this year grows into the Allen/WCS role on a cheap deal.

  10. #270
    PM a mod to cement your internet status forever RJKarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckets View Post
    it seems like the hornets should have some trade ammo with a glut of guards - graham / rozier / monk to make way to LaMelo, but it's such a guard heavy league there aren't many teams that need a PG. maybe the 76ers could use Rozier or Graham, but not sure what we'd want in return.
    Sixers aren't looking for a guard. They could use someone to take Mike Scott's place as stretch four off the bench.

  11. #271
    They've been navigating the injuries really well and are up to the 6th spot in the East, 1/2 a game out of 5th. Obviously there is a long way to go and the wheels can fall off at any time, but if they could manage to sneak the 5th or 6th seed and avoid Philly and Milwaukee it would be amazing.

    With the lack of training camp and preseason, it took Borrego a while during the first few weeks of the season to figure out the rotations and everyone to understand their roles. But now they really seem to improve every game.

    LaMelo is a fucking superstar in pretty much every way possible. His feel for the game and skill level for his size at barely 19 years old are unbelievable. And his energy and joy for playing are infectious among the other guys. Every single player visibly loves playing with him. Even Monk, who has sulked on and off his entire career, now plays with a giant smile on his face and after last night's blowout of Houston was gushing about how much fun it is to play with LaMelo. We have never been a major FA destination, but if we can keep him he will definitely attract other guys to come play with him without having to overpay like in the past.

  12. #272

  13. #273
    PM a mod to cement your internet status forever RJKarl's Avatar
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    Why would Washington do that Deal? They can get more that two mediocre players for Beal.

  14. #274
    b/c this is my day dream!

  15. #275
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    LaMelo is a stud. Great pick. LaMelo reminds me of the early days of basketball video games when you press the pass button and the ball flew from the player's hands to wherever it was supposed to go no matter what else is going on.

  16. #276
    PM a mod to cement your internet status forever RJKarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckets View Post
    b/c this is my day dream!
    If you are going to do that, get me an extension and included in the deal...

  17. #277
    LaMelo leads ALL rookies in points, assists, steals, rebounds.... he's 2nd in 3 pointers... while being 4th in minutes played per game

  18. #278
    this is porn to me

    https://www.espn.com/nba/insider/sto...ial-not-limits

    LaMelo Ball's superstar potential might not have any limits


    Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball is already exceeding expectations. The No. 3 overall pick was named NBA rookie of the month for January and has earned a spot in the starting lineup for the Hornets, who are firmly in the mix for the NBA play-in round.

    Despite his immense talent, Ball faced plenty of criticism heading into the 2020 NBA draft, including concerns from some front offices that his poor shooting and approach to the game could limit his potential.

    What has stood out the most about Ball's play so far? How has he been better than expected? And what does this all mean for his superstar potential?

    ESPN experts Kevin Pelton and Mike Schmitz dive into Ball's game and what comes next.

    How Ball's star skills are shining earlier than expected

    Kevin Pelton: Even though both of us had Ball as our No. 1 prospect in the draft, as did our colleague Jonathan Givony, I think that was more about long-term potential for the 19-year-old point guard than what he could contribute right away.

    Yet as we stand, Ball is having one of the most impressive rookie seasons on record for a player his age. In fact, at his current pace, it would be the most wins above replacement player (WARP) by my metric for a rookie who played his entire first season at age 19 or younger, eclipsing LeBron James' and Dwight Howard' marks:

    Now, 26 games is not a full season, and it remains to be seen whether Ball can maintain this pace. Still, that's lofty company for a No. 3 pick.

    Mike, what has stood out so far to you in terms of Ball's precocious production?

    Mike Schmitz: Even the most optimistic Ball stans expected there to be a considerable learning curve given his untraditional path to the NBA and the fact that he hadn't played a competitive game in over a year. But I've been really impressed with how quickly he has responded to any internal criticism or shortened leash from the coaching staff.

    One of the biggest pre-draft complaints we heard from NBA executives regarding Ball was that he rarely finished a full season, either bailing on his team or going down with an injury. NBA franchises questioned how Ball would contribute to winning if he wasn't given the keys to the organization right away.

    That never seemed completely fair. I saw Ball respond to challenges from coaches and teammates following disappointing performances with the Illawarra Hawks (of the National Basketball League), and that has carried over in Charlotte.

    Since head coach James Borrego benched Ball in the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 23, the rookie has been outstanding, averaging 19.0 points, 6.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 turnovers and 1.4 steals in 30.2 minutes on 54% shooting from 2 and 39% from 3. From talking to people around the organization, Ball's buy-in, adaptability, coachability and infectious personality have all stood out. He has made the Hornets an NBA League Pass favorite and quickly earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. Given all of his pre-draft questions, that matters just as much as his stunning passing or surprising shooting.

    Where has Ball has been better than expected?

    Pelton: I think you have to start with the shooting given that was the biggest skill-based concern about Ball's potential. After infamously making just 25% of his 3-point attempts in 12 NBL regular-season games, Ball is shooting an impressive 36% from the longer NBA line thus far.

    Ball believers pointed to the difficulty of the shots he was taking as evidence his NBL percentage didn't reflect his shooting ability. Per Synergy Sports tracking, Ball attempted just 15 unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers among his 80 3-point attempts. Still, I figured at best Ball would end up more of a volume 3-point shooter than an accurate one, along the lines of Luka Doncic. That might yet prove the case, but so far Ball is shooting 36% on pull-up 3s, per Second Spectrum tracking on NBA Advanced Stats, and 39% on catch-and-shoot opportunities.

    Beyond that, I've been impressed with his decision-making with the ball in his hands. I've written before about the poor track record of one-and-done point guards as rookies, and turnovers are often a big part of that. Turnovers have been a huge issue for the two other international point guards in this year's draft, Killian Hayes (26% of his plays before he was sidelined by a hip injury) and Theo Maledon (20% of his plays). Yet for all his flashy passing, Ball is committing turnovers on just 16% of his plays -- still above average for a point guard, but similar to other high-volume creators such as Trae Young.

    Schmitz: Yeah, I was fairly confident in Ball's shotmaking ability. He is maybe the most confident young player I've ever been around, seemingly never feeling even an ounce of pressure. Plus, his free throw numbers and touch on floaters suggested he has great natural touch.

    To me, Ball has been much better fitting in alongside other accomplished perimeter players -- such as Devonte' Graham, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward -- than I expected. I loved the fit in Charlotte because of the small market, future cap space to build around Ball, development-focused coaching staff and young pieces in P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges to help accentuate Ball's playmaking.

    I also thought Graham, Rozier and Hayward would help take pressure off Ball from having to create all the offense. But I didn't anticipate that he'd fit in alongside them so seamlessly, so quickly. Lineups featuring Ball, Graham and Hayward are a plus-49 in 116 total minutes.

    Ball was never the most engaged off-ball player before entering the NBA, with a lot of room to improve his activity and shot preparation. Through 26 games with Charlotte, he has become a legitimate threat in catch-and-shoot situations, boasting an eFG of 60.0% on 1.5 attempts per game, according to Second Spectrum tracking. He's more disciplined with his mechanics, and some teams have even started running him off the 3-point line or biting for his shot fake. From there, Ball is tremendous at reading a scrambling defense. He's also a willing ball-mover, an adept cutter and an outstanding offensive rebounder, even if his tendency to go rogue hurts Charlotte's transition defense at times.

    I often tabbed Ball as a 6-foot-7 version of Young in the pre-draft process. Now that Charlotte has been dealing with the injury bug, we're seeing that version of Ball more -- unleashed, firing one-handed darts all over the floor, splashing deep pull-up 3s. That was a little more expected. But the fact that he can mesh well with other ball handlers bodes well for his potential to play deep into the playoffs someday.

    What do we know about Ball's ceiling now?

    Pelton: I mean, is there a ceiling? Looking at the production of 19-year-old rookies and Ball's similarity scores in my SCHOENE projection system (he scores as most similar within six months of the same age to Luka Doncic's rookie season), I'm not sure you can give him one. Which is not to say that Ball will get to that level or that it's a reasonable expectation for someone with such a short track record of NBA success, just that very little can be ruled out based on his performance to date.

    Given Ball is still 19, there's lots of improvement needed and to be expected. That starts with something I just praised, his turnover rate. While it's good for a teenage point guard, he can improve dramatically, particularly in cutting some low-percentage passes out of his arsenal. According to PBPstats.com, Ball's 21 passes out of bounds this season are five more than any other player. That has an impact on the team's turnover rate. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Hornets rank in the 85th percentile league-wide in avoiding turnovers with Ball on the bench and drop to the 11th percentile when he plays.

    I'd also point to his ability to score off the dribble, somewhere we've already seen progress. Overall, Ball's 0.91 points per chance on drives on which he shoots rank 86th out of the 110 players with at least 50 such shots, according to Second Spectrum tracking. But this was even worse early in the season; his 0.76 points per chance shooting on drives ranked last among players with at least 50 attempts through Jan. 15. Since then, he's up to a league-average 1.05 points per chance.

    Improving his ability to draw fouls around the basket, something highlighted on Twitter by Nekias Duncan and PD Web, will also help Ball's efficiency because he's a 79% free throw shooter.

    Schmitz: I definitely think finishing around the rim is priority No. 1 for Ball offensively. This is generally an area where rookies struggle, so the fact that he has converted 46.6% of his attempts at the rim in the half-court offense and doesn't get to the free throw line at a great rate is far from a red flag. Still, he has left a lot of points on the board at the rim simply because he doesn't quite have the strength or vertical pop to finish against high-level rim protectors. He's quite unorthodox around the rim, regularly going to his left hand from obscure angles when he has space to finish with his right.

    I am confident Ball will eventually evolve into a plus finisher as his frame continues to fill out, especially because of his ambidexterity, touch and floater game. Remember, he's a late-bloomer who stood just 6-foot-5 in 2017-18 and is still growing into his body. He has had a few near-dunks this season that I wouldn't have expected based on what I saw in Australia.

    On top of finishing and tightening up his decision- making, Ball's defensive discipline could use a face-lift. Despite ranking 432nd out of 459 players in defensive real plus minus, I would argue he has actually been better than most anticipated on that end because of his size and instincts. Among players who average at least 25 minutes per game, Ball is one of only 10 with a steal rate over 2.5 and a block rate over 1.0, joining elite defenders such as Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Jrue Holiday and Marcus Smart. He has incredible anticipation in the passing lanes and is a brilliant positional rebounder who reads the ball off the rim as well as any guard I can remember.

    He's also gamble-heavy, lacks physicality and determination on the ball and gets caught napping off the ball. His ignoring of the scouting report and helping off knockdown shooters to go rogue has to be frustrating for coaches and teammates. The encouraging part is that he has the court sense and tools to become a plus defender in time. And these are all typical rookie issues. You could argue Ball has as much long-term upside as any young point guard in the league. His unshakable confidence combined with his superpowers as a passer, ball handler and all-around basketball player are impossible to teach.

    I know both of us believed in Ball's long-term upside before the draft. The fact that he has already been this productive and efficient indicates he has everything in place to evolve into one of the best point guards -- and potentially best players -- in the NBA someday.

  19. #279
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    We may need to look into acquiring that Boogie Cousins character.

  20. #280
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    Lamelo turned it up with 14 points in the second half as the Hornets put down CP3, All-Star Booker, and the Suns.

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