Like Lance Armstrong before them, the Charlotte Hornets are down a Ball. With training camp set to open Tuesday, the Hornets released their 20-man camp roster featuring only one Ball, when two were expected. Despite a strong summer showing, Charlotte opted against pairing LiAngelo Ball with his brother, LaMelo, the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year.
BREAKING: LiAngelo Ball Is NOT On The Charlotte Hornets Training Camp Roster pic.twitter.com/gHbFhc6v4S
— DKM 🏀⚽️ (@DKM_Sports) September 27, 2021
After producing solid numbers for the Hornets’ summer league squad (just under 10 points per game on 37.5% shooting), many assumed LiAngelo had earned at least a training camp invite. But summer league success doesn’t always translate to regular season riches, and Charlotte opted to go in a different direction.
“LiAngelo did a good job in summer league, I can say that,” said Hornets coach James Borrego during Monday’s media day. “As a basketball coach, I think he did a heck of a job in the time we had him there. What happens now in the future with LiAngelo, I don’t have that answer; I’ll leave that to (GM) Mitch (Kupchak) to discuss and describe as we go. I like our roster. We have a full 20-man roster ready to go.”
Make no mistake, Ball’s summer league performance made an impression on Borrego, but general manager Mitch Kupchak ultimately decides who gets to sack up with the Hornets.
“I’m comfortable with LiAngelo and how he played. I thought he got better during that period but we have to make certain decisions here, and I’m comfortable with where we’re at,” Borrego told media members. “I think that’s more of a question for Mitch to answer.
“I can only speak for what he did on the floor in Vegas, and I thought he performed well and opened eyes and played at a higher level than I expected.”
In the event you have to lose a Ball, you would ideally like to keep the bigger of the two. And that’s exactly what Charlotte did – holding onto 6’6 LaMelo while letting 6’5 LiAngelo bounce away.