Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball playing limited minutes lately

Hornets rookie point guard LaMelo Ball has played limited minutes lately. Via the Charlotte Observer:

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego says rookie LaMelo Ball playing as he did Friday costs him minutes, regardless of Ball’s huge potential.

“If you’re turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes, that ain’t gonna cut it for me,” Borrego assessed Saturday of Ball’s performance against the Chicago Bulls.

“If you’re doing that on the offensive end, you better be bringing something defensively.”

Ball, the third overall draft pick, has been occasionally spectacular in his first 15 games, including a triple-double against the Atlanta Hawks Jan. 9. However, his performance slipped the past two games, and Borrego has trimmed back his minutes: To 23 against the Toronto Raptors Jan. 16 and 16 1/2 against the Bulls Friday.

Ball is currently third in scoring among rookies, but just 0.2 ppg out of the top spot. He’s also leading all rookies in rebounds, assists and steals per game. He’s been the main rookie to watch this season, along with Warriors center James Wiseman.

Hornets name Tamara Daniels as Senior Vice President and General Counsel

The Charlotte Hornets have named Tamara Daniels Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Daniels, who will serve as a part of HSE’s executive leadership team and will advise and counsel across all areas within the organization, will begin her role with the franchise in February.

Daniels joins the Hornets after serving as Vice President & General Counsel of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the organization’s other properties: the Henderson Silver Knights, Henderson Event Center, Lifeguard Arena and City National Arena.

“We are very excited to have Tamara join our organization and be a part of our senior leadership team,” said HSE President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Tamara is a talented and experienced executive who brings a wealth of knowledge in the sports and entertainment industry that will greatly benefit all areas of our organization. I’d like to welcome Tamara, her husband, Jordan, and their family to Charlotte.”

“I am thrilled to join HSE as General Counsel and look forward to contributing to the ongoing success of the team’s business units,” said Daniels. “The Hornets have a stellar reputation for their commitment to the community and their team members. The newly launched Social Justice Platform is just one example of the franchise’s dedication to crucial initiatives beyond the game that gets me excited. While I will be forever grateful to Bill Foley and the Foley family for the time I spent with the Vegas Golden Knights and its affiliates, joining the Hornets presents an incredible opportunity for me and my husband. We cannot wait to start this new chapter of our lives in Charlotte.”

Wizards vs. Hornets game scheduled for January 20, 2021 is postponed

The NBA game scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20 between the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Wizards, the team will not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game against the Hornets.

Kyle Lowry hits game-winner for Raptors over Hornets

The Raptors aren’t off to a great start so far this season, but last night they beat the Hornets despite three Charlotte players putting up 20 or more points. Via the Toronto Star:

The Raptors knew they were going to get a ton of three-point attempts on Saturday night. The Charlotte Hornets play a lot of zone defence that creates those opportunities.

And it was a long two-pointer that was the biggest bucket of the night.

Kyle Lowry made a step-back 18-footer with just over 30 seconds to go for the game-winning basket, allowing the Raptors to post a 116-113 win over Charlotte, their second in three nights in Tampa.

Toronto stayed in the game with some of their best three-point shooting of the season. Despite droughts to start the game and open the second half, the Raptors made 21 on the night.

In the win, Chris Boucher came off the bench and put up 20 points, nine assists and two blocks on just seven field goal attempts. He’s been a standout so far this season and the story of the season for Toronto.

G League: Jay Hernandez named head coach of Greensboro Swarm

Charlotte Hornets assistant coach Jay Hernandez will serve as the head coach of the Greensboro Swarm for the upcoming NBA G League season.

Additionally, Norman Richardson and Evan Harville have been hired as Swarm assistant coaches.

This year, the G League will play in a “bubble,” starting in February at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.

Hernandez will join the Swarm for the start of the team’s training camp and will return to the Hornets bench at the conclusion of the Swarm’s season.

“As an assistant coach and director of player development, Jay has played an essential role in the development of the younger players on both our Hornets and Swarm rosters,” said Kupchak. “We believe his experience in development, his tireless work ethic and his leadership skills will be very beneficial as we look to maximize this G League opportunity. The G League bubble will provide our younger players with coaching, court time and competition that will help them in their next stage of development as they continue to grow and improve.

Hernandez, who serves as a Hornets assistant coach and director of player development, has been a member of Head Coach James Borrego’s staff since 2018. He previously served in a head coaching capacity for the organization, leading the Hornets during the 2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The Long Island, New York, native began his NBA coaching career with the Orlando Magic in 2014-15 in player development and assistant coaching roles until he joined the Hornets.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to coach the Greensboro Swarm at the NBA G League bubble,” Hernandez said. “I want to thank the Hornets organization and coach JB for entrusting me with the additional responsibility to help develop our young talent in Orlando. I am looking forward to implementing coach’s system and staying true to the principles of Hornets basketball by playing an exciting up-tempo offense and a team-oriented defense.”

LaMelo Ball outplays brother Lonzo in their first NBA game against each other

It was Ball brother against Ball brother on Friday, as the Hornets beat the Pelicans 118-110. with Lonzo Ball starting for the Pelicans and rookie LaMelo Ball coming off the bench for the Hornets, here’s what went down, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

LaMelo Ball checked in midway through the first quarter and immediately started guarding Lonzo Ball. In their first game against each other at the NBA level, the brothers were matched up on one another a fair amount. Surprisingly, LaMelo won Round 1 handily. He had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists — a near triple-double. Lonzo had a five-point, three-assist dud.

Nine games into the season, Lonzo doesn’t look like a much different player than he was last year. He is a capable defender, and he makes multiple gorgeous passes every night. He also remains wildly inconsistent, is hesitant to drive the basketball into the paint, and can’t get to the free-throw line.

Remember New Orleans’ opening-night win in Tampa, when Ball attempted six free throws? In the 272 minutes he’s played since then, he’s attempted four free throws. In that same stretch of games, Nicolo Melli has attempted four free throws in 47 minutes, and Willy Hernangomez has attempted four free throws in seven minutes. Ball’s unwillingness to try shots at the rim further restricts the Pelicans in the half court, where they already don’t have much shooting to begin with.

LaMelo is still brand new to the league but is already flashing some very big-time talent.

In search of more offense, Hornets rotation may change

For those of you keeping a very close eye on the Charlotte Hornets player rotation, more offense is needed, and therefore some changes are likely to be made. Via the Charlotte Observer:

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego needs more offense, and that will change the rotation for Wednesday’s road game with the Atlanta Hawks.

The Hornets are 24th among 30 NBA teams in offensive efficiency, and that number has fallen in three consecutive losses heading into the Hawks game.

“There are lineup tweaks that will be made for tomorrow. Not necessarily in the starting lineup. But along the way, trying to find some different combinations of guys as we move throughout a game to give us more offense,” Borrego said following practice Tuesday…

Borrego didn’t specify what changes to anticipate. But based on Monday’s loss in Philadelphia, the trend could be more of Malik Monk with Cody Martin edged out.

Hornets center Cody Zeller out after hand surgery

Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller has undergone surgery on the fourth metacarpal of his left hand.

The 7-footer suffered the fractured left hand in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He will be listed as out and will be reevaluated in four weeks.

Last season, Zeller averaged career-highs in points (11.1) and rebounds (7.1) per game over the course of 58 games played.

Now in his eighth year out of Indiana, Zeller holds career averages with the Hornets of 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game over the course of 420 career appearances (253 starts).

Hornets exercise contract options on PJ Washington and Miles Bridges

The Charlotte Hornets have exercised their third-year option on forward PJ Washington and fourth-year option on forward Miles Bridges.

Washington enters his second NBA season after appearing in 58 games (57 starts) during his rookie campaign in 2019-20. The Kentucky product averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 30.3 minutes per game. Washington shot 45.5% from the field overall including 37.4% from beyond-the-arc. The 12th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft set a rookie NBA record for three-point field goals made in a debut with seven total vs. Chicago on Oct. 23, 2019. The 6-7 forward started for the Hornets all season and garnered 2019-20 All-Rookie Second Team honors for the season.

Bridges is in his third NBA season after appearing in 145 games (89 starts) in his first two years. Bridges upped his averaged from 7.5 points in his rookie campaign to 13.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 30.7 minutes per game in his second year. Bridges totaled 20 points, five rebounds and five assists during the 2020 Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend in Chicago. The Michigan State product was originally acquired by the Hornets in a draft-night trade after being selected with the 12th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Hornets waive Keandre Cook, Javin DeLaurier, Xavier Sneed and Kahlil Whitney

The Charlotte Hornets have waived guard Keandre Cook, forward Javin DeLaurier, forward Xavier Sneed and forward Kahlil Whitney.

Cook (6-5, 187) went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft after two seasons at Missouri State University. The Baltimore native appeared in 33 games during his senior season, averaging 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 32.1 minutes per game to earn All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team honors. He appeared in one preseason game for the Hornets.

DeLaurier (6-10, 237) played four years at Duke University, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game in 114 career contents. The Shipman, Virginia native went undrafted and appeared in one preseason game for the Hornets.

Sneed (6-5, 220) made three appearances for the Hornets during the preseason, totaling six points and four rebounds in 15 minutes. The St. Louis native went undrafted after a decorated career at Kansas State University. He appeared in 32 games and averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.7 assists in 32.5 minutes per game as a senior, earning All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades.

Whitney (6-6, 210) played collegiately for the University of Kentucky. The Chicago native went undrafted after averaging 3.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes in 18 games for the Wildcats. A heralded recruit out of high school, Whitney was a 2019 McDonald’s All-American and participant in the 2019 Jordan Brand Classic. He appeared in one preseason game for the Hornets.

After waiving Cook, DeLaurier, Sneed and Whitney, the Hornets roster stands at 16 players.