LaMelo and Miles will have plenty of opportunities to prove NBA wrong after All-Star snubs

By Chase Whitney

February 5, 2022

Photo: Jacob Kupferman / AP

The Charlotte Hornets have zero NBA All-Stars this season. LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges both had solid campaigns, especially with some recent notable performances, but unfortunately, the young stars will likely have to wait another year to have a shot at their first All-Star appearance. 

James Harden, Zach LaVine and Jayson Tatum were all surefire All-Stars, but a case could be made for Bridges or Ball to have been included over Jimmy Butler, Darius Garland, Khris Middleton or Fred VanVleet. Ball averages more points, rebounds and steals per game than Garland and Middleton, while Butler and VanVleet only edge him in points and steals. Ball is tied for seventh in the NBA in triple-doubles (4) and the Hornets are the only team in the top-10 of the Eastern Conference without a representative in Cleveland. 

Coming off of three-straight losses, with the third by one point to the Cavaliers thanks to some truly wild officiating (watch the end of the highlights below), the Hornets are in a bit of a rough patch. They rolled through most of January, but tripped up at the end of the month and it’s clear they missed the wing depth provided by Gordon Hayward, Jalen McDaniels and Kelly Oubre Jr., who have all been sidelined for a period of time. With the next three games at The Hive, it serves as a chance to right the ship.

What’s ahead for the Hornets?

Charlotte hosts Miami on Saturday night before Toronto and Chicago come to town on Monday and Wednesday; Ball and Bridges get to face off with Butler and VanVleet following their All-Star omissions. The game against the Bulls will also be nationally televised on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.

The Heat will potentially be without Caleb Martin, Max Strus and PJ Tucker as they visit Charlotte, and Butler is listed as probable with a toe injury. Miami is one of five teams (Golden State, Memphis, Milwaukee, Phoenix) in the top-10 in both offensive and defensive rating, and Tyler Herro is the leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year as he puts up 20.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4 assists per game off the bench.

Winners of five in-a-row, Toronto has been playing well. VanVleet leads the Raptors in scoring and is second in the league in three-point attempts (9.9 per game). Scottie Barnes, who will be playing alongside Ball in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend, has had a solid rookie season averaging 14.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.9 blocks per game, all top-five on his team.

There will be no Ball Brothers rematch when the Bulls come to town, with Lonzo Ball having been sidelined since January 20 with a small meniscus tear in his left knee. Chicago has weathered injuries to Ball as well as Alex Caruso with Ayo Dosunmu and Nikola Vučević both elevating their play since the two guards went down. The Bulls are the fourth-best offense in the NBA, one spot ahead of Charlotte.

Check out the remaining 2021-22 Charlotte Hornets schedule.

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