After a couple of tune up games coming off of a sprained ankle, LaMelo Ball was finding his groove against the Pacers. In 37 minutes, Ball scored 26 points on 10-17 shooting and 5-8 from 3. Ball was finding his rhythm, but then disaster happened. With a little over a minute left, Ball sprained his ankle – again – going for a loose ball and rolling his ankle on a fan’s foot. Ball had to be helped to the locker room and there’s no timetable for his return. So what should the Hornets due now?
Charlotte has currently lost 9 out of its last 10 games. The Hornets have been hit with injuries to not only LaMelo, but also Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward and Dennis Smith Jr. Looking ahead, the Hornets’ schedule has some tough opponents in the near future. In the next two weeks Charlotte will face the Cavs, Washington twice, Boston, Philly, Minnesota and Milwaukee. All of those teams are hovering at .500 or above .500. The Hornets are already at the bottom of the East – just a half game above Detroit for the worst record in the East. With their current injury report and this schedule, the Hornets are likely to stay in their current position. So how should the Hornets go about things if LaMelo is out for an extended period of time?
At what point, if you’re the Hornets, do you decide to see what you have with some of your younger players? The only way you can properly evaluate them is to see them in significant action. This season is likely to continue on its current trajectory, so why not play your younger players and see what they have currently and develop as the season goes on. This is an opportunity to have a more long term approach to things. At this point, why not?