Home Hornets Coach Steve Clifford: Hornets Need to Start Winning to Keep LaMelo Ball

Coach Steve Clifford: Hornets Need to Start Winning to Keep LaMelo Ball

Point guard LaMelo Ball said he “plays it by day” when asked about his long-term future with the Hornets.Coach Steve Clifford offers instruction to LaMelo Ball

“I love it here,” Ball said, via Nick Freidell of ESPN. “I can’t really tell the future. We’ll just see how it goes and go from there.”

According to coach Steve Clifford, though, the Hornets will have to start winning regularly if they want to keep Ball.

He badly wants to win,” Clifford said, via Friedell. “… When you’re at his level, there are certain expectations. You’re going to be compared to the other point guards his age that have had not incredible playoff success but have had some.

“It’s important to his career.”

Ball agreed.

“For sure,” he said when told of Clifford’s comments. “The main thing is winning. Life is better when you win.”

On the bright side, the Hornets will have some flexibility to try to build the roster this offseason. Not only will they have a high lottery pick, but they are also expected to possess about $39 million in space under the salary cap to sign free agents.

Ball, 21, missed big chunks of the season with a reoccurring ankle injury. In the 36 games he did play, he averaged career-highs of 23.3 points and 8.4 assists, grabbing 6.4 rebounds. That said, he also shot 41 percent from the field, the lowest of his three-year career.

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