CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Coming off a Rookie of the Year season in which he became the only player in the last 60 years to lead all first-year players in total points, rebounds, assists and steals at the All-Star break, what more could LaMelo Ball do?
Of course, like any young player, he's not a finished product yet.
Hornets coach James Borrego said that Ball has been in Charlotte the majority of the off-season, instead of home in Southern California.
And the two have been working on a very important aspect of the 19-year-old's game.
"Time and score, situational pieces of the game that equals winning is probably his next logical step," Borrego said. "How does he manage this group?"
Borrego indicated the two have worked hand-in-hand, to try to make Ball more of a coach on the floor, especially in close games.
"Becoming a coach, an extension of me on the floor," Borrego said. "We've spent a lot of time this summer on that connection, that bridge between he and I."
Ball was sensational in his first season in the league. The No. 3 overall selection dazzled with his passes, but also scored more and shot better than many expected.
He was the youngest player (19 years, 140 days) in NBA history to record a triple-double, putting up 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Atlanta.
"He plays off pure instinct, and that's tough to teach," Borrego said. "Now it's about managing a game, managing this roster, managing these players around him. These players have great respect for him and great trust in him."