Are we ready to give up on the number 3 overall draft pick after just one game? Why invest so much negative energy into one player who prior to opening night had logged no minutes in a regular season game?
Absolutely not. There is a night and day difference between getting acclimated to the NBA game during the regular season and pre-season. Lamelo Ball dropped a bagel on opening night sending NBA fans into a frenzy – proclaiming Ball a bust after just one game. Tallying just 3 assists, 1 rebound, and 3 turnovers in 16 minutes of action, Lamelo witnessed first-hand adjusting to game speed of the NBA.
This was officially Ball’s first regular season game in the league. He’s playing against the best of the best. Regardless if the loss is against the Cav’s, at the end of the day these are grown men who are, more times than not, better than any opponent he’s played against overseas. They’re in the NBA for a reason. Everything is earned and not given. Lamelo has nightly opportunities to erase the notion of being a bust after just one game. That’s silly to even fathom.
Who Will Replace Cody Zeller?
Center Cody Zeller will be out at least a month after fracturing his left hand during a 114-121 loss on opening night. Zeller, who is in a make it or break it year for the Hornets, is expected to free up 15 million plus off the books if the Hornets don’t retain his rights this upcoming offseason.
The loss of Zeller means rookies Vernon Carey and Nick Richards may be asked to contribute sooner than expected. Rumor was, Hornets fans should expect to see Vernon Carey and Nick Richards competing back and forth between the Greensboro Swarm G-league affiliate and the Hornets. With the latest injury to Zeller, those plans may be altered. Veteran center Bismack Biyombo will assume increased minutes – possibly starting as soon as tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Hornets home opener.
Learning From Your Losses
The Hornets were simply outplayed on both ends during their loss to the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Trailing by 20 plus at one point – they brought the fight far too late. Being out rebounded -18 and shooting 53 percent from the charity stripe, these woes will need to be cleaned up as the schedule doesn’t get any easier going forward. Off the dribble, the Cavaliers were able to get into the lane at will Wednesday night. Losing Zeller didn’t help on the boards either. The Hornets could not box out, leading to second chance point opportunities that put the game out of reach late in the 4th.
Opening Night in Buzz City
The Charlotte Hornets look to open up their home slate tonight with a win versus the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7:00 P.M. televised on Fox Sports Southeast. You can also listen to the broadcast on WFNZ 610 AM/ 102.5 FM.
What to Watch For?
Coach James Borrego mentioned recently wanting to play small-ball with the loss of Zeller. Expect PJ Washington to play some 5, with Bridges sliding to the 4 position. Biyombo will play large minutes at the 5 also.
How does Lamelo establish himself with poise and patience after an abysmal rookie debut?
Can the Hornets control the boards and dictate tempo early? Looking ahead, the 2-0 red hot Brooklyn Nets come into town Sunday evening, so this is a must win for the Hornets looking to avoid potentially starting the season 0-3.