The offseason in any major sport is crazy season time. Wild speculation and rumors of players being traded flood social media timelines and dominate the water cooler talk at work.
With reports circulating last week the Charlotte Hornets would be interested in pursuing Donovan Mitchell potentially, it immediately got the attention of Hornets fans.
Let me quickly give you my stance on this. No.
First things first, Donovan Mitchell is an outstanding player. The things he does at barely 6-feet-2 are astounding. However, the Hornets already have a point guard on its roster who has yet to reach his full potential, or come remotely close to his ceiling. His name is LaMelo Ball.
Yes, the same LaMelo Ball who won Rookie of the Year honors. The same LaMelo Ball who was named to his first All-Star game at the age of 20. And, the same LaMelo Ball who stands a hair shy of 6-foot-8, and still growing into his proverbial “Ball body” — it would behoove the Hornets to stunt his growth more than it already has.
Instead of trying to attract the hottest name(s) on the market each offseason, Michael Jordan and Mitch Kupchak should spend more time reading the blueprint on how other young stars developed. Look no further than Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks are doing their darndest to build its franchise around Doncic. Mark Cuban hired Jason Kidd for starters. The offense runs completely through Doncic, which is what he prefers, and where he’s most comfortable.
The Hornets are still trying to figure out — at least it seems — what to do with LaMelo. The offseason coaching search was almost an epic fail. Steve Clifford may actually turn out to be a good hire for LaMelo, but the initial leading names were cringe-worthy to say the least.
LaMelo is 21 years old. He is still five good years away from his prime years, and the Hornets have an opportunity to do what the Milwaukee Bucks did with a young Giannis Antetokounmpo — before they really knew exactly what they had in him.
LaMelo is already there.
Mitchell will be an All-Star no matter where he goes. Will he alone be a difference maker for the Hornets? I say no. The wise thing to do is to hand the keys over to LaMelo, and let him drive. Surround him with playmakers that allow him to use his supreme, God-given court vision, and space the floor where he can make plays for himself and others.
When you have a budding superstar, it should not be this difficult. This year will prove to be a turning point for LaMelo’s growth and development. It’s best to take full advantage now, and strike while the iron is hot.