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LaMelo Ball will remain in starting lineup moving forward

The Hornets are expected to get back guard Devonte’ Graham this week. Charlotte will still turn to the rookie guard.

Head coach Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on as LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets celebrates a three-point basket during the fourth quarter of the game at Target Center on March 3, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Charlotte Hornets rookie guard LaMelo Ball will remain in the starting lineup moving forward, head coach James Borrego confirmed to reporters on Wednesday night. Ball had been in the starting five as a replacement for injured guard Devonte’ Graham. Now that Graham has been upgraded to probable for Thursday’s game vs. the Detroit Pistons. Graham had been out due to a knee injury.

Borrego didn’t go into detail on what the starting lineup will look like. So this could mean the Hornets opt for a smaller look with three guard: Ball, Graham and Terry Rozier. That would mean Gordon Hayward plays PF and PJ Washington would stay in there at center. That or Cody Zeller adds more size at the 5. Washington is a more dynamic offensive player. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but the good news — particularly for Ball ROTY bettors — is that the rookie will remain in there.

This is also good news if you’re drafting second-half best ball teams. Ball being in the starting lineup the rest of the season should only balloon his numbers. That three-guard lineup could be very deadly to teams who can’t keep up with the Hornets’ pace and can’t defend the perimeter (which is most of the NBA). Graham’s return shouldn’t take much away from Ball, who — you’d think — would continue to be the primary ball-handler and playmaker.