Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is impressed with third-year guard LaMelo Ball. On Friday, Rod Boone’s Charlotte Observer Meet with the veteran basketball coach to discuss expectations.
“Who has impressed him the most so far,” Boone asked Steve Clifford. “It was hard to identify someone, but first he talked about LaMelo and how he’s a sponge, stays in the gym and likes to talk basketball.”
“Then Clifford talked a lot about Nick Richards. He might have a role this season.”
Following the Hornets’ 132-103 playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the front office fired head coach James Borrego. On June 24, the Hornets re-hired Clifford.
At several NBA betting sites, expectations for Charlotte next season are low.
He asked Steve Clifford who impressed him the most so far. It was hard to identify someone, but first he said Lamelo and how he’s a sponge, hangs out at the gym, and likes to talk basketball.
Then Clifford got real about Nick Richards. This season may have a role.
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) September 23, 2022
From 2013 to 2018, in five seasons coaching the Bobcats/Hornets, Clifford compiled a 196-214 (.478) record with the team.
Ball was selected third overall by the Hornets in the 2020 NBA Draft. The rookie averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per contest during the 2020-21 season, in 51 games and 31 starts.
He won NBA Rookie of the Year and was selected to the All-Rookie First Team.
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is excited to work with LaMelo Ball.
Last season, in 75 starts, Ball averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The Hornets guard also shot 42.9% from the field and 38.9% from 3-point range.
The guard earned his first All-Star selection last season. Because of Kevin Durant’s foot injury, Ball replaced the two-time Finals MVP as the Eastern Conference All-Star’s point guard.
In 22 minutes in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, Melo scored 18 points, shooting 7-of-11 (63.6%) from the field and 4-of-8 (50%) from downtown.
In the year Ball finished 12 of 24 (50%) shooting from the floor.
The California native will wear the No. 1 jersey instead of No. 2 for the 2022-23 season.
During the offseason, the team re-signed forward Cody Martin. Center Mark Williams also signed an entry-level contract.
In September, the Hornets signed guards Jalen Crutcher and Jaylen Sims. To add to the aforementioned signings, forwards Anthony Duriuji and Isaias Whaley have also been agreed.