Saturday, December 3

LaMelo Ball expected to miss start of season with sprained ankle, per report: Should Hornets consider tanking?


The Charlotte Hornets announced on Tuesday that point guard LaMelo Ball had his left ankle sprain confirmed by an MRI and his return to basketball activities will be determined by how he responds to treatment. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that it is a Grade 2 sprain and that Ball is expected to miss time at the start of the Hornets’ season. 

Charlotte opens the regular season at San Antonio on Oct. 19 and will play four of its first five games on the road. 

Obviously, the Hornets need Ball back as soon as possible. It was not a productive offseason for the Hornets, who honestly might want to weigh the advantages of tanking ahead of a stacked 2023 draft class led by a potential generational talent in Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson. 

It’s hard to imagine the Hornets making it above the play-in line given their current roster without Miles Bridges, and even making the play-in might be a stretch. Certainly, Ball being out for any length of time will be another knock against their chances. 

Ball, who in just his second season replaced Kevin Durant on the Eastern Conference All-Star team last year, is a foundational player, but the guy Charlotte envisioned pairing with him, Miles Bridges, might never play for the Hornets again, if anywhere in the NBA, potentially depending on how his legal situation plays out. 

Last season, Ball was a top-10 assist man. He shot 39 percent from 3 on 7.5 attempts per game, and was one of just five players to average at least 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds

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