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How to watch, what to watch for on final NBA preseason schedule

We take a look at the games on slate for the final night of preseason.

Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies talks with Dillon Brooks #24 during the second quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference play-in game one at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 15, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On the final night of the NBA preseason, we are set for a three-game slate. We wrap up the preseason with a short slate but it should give us a final look at a few big-time rookies before the start of the regular season. LaMelo Ball has been lighting things up for the Hornets this preseason and I’ve discussed this a lot throughout the past week or so. Ball should be starting in the opener.

If you look at how the Hornets are constructed, they have a handful of really talented young players and then a few stay-at-home, rim protectors at center. In order to unlock the full potential of this lineup, Ball needs to be in there and the Hornets gotta look to play some small ball. If you get Ball into the starting lineup with, say, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward and PJ Washington, you’d have five players who can shoot, run the break, pass the rock — you’d have a very exciting brand of basketball.

Sure, defense will be tough. Washington isn’t a 5 and would need to guard players who are way too big for him. Think about the mismatches for a second on the other end; a true center trying to get out of the paint to guard Washington. Clearing the paint for players like Graham, Bridges, Ball and even Terry Rozier off the bench would be ideal. It’s probably not something we’ll see this season, but maybe Charlotte will consider it. It’s better than rolling out Cody Zeller or Bismack Biyombo.

NBA preseason schedule for Dec. 19

Charlotte Hornets vs. Orlando Magic, 7:00 p.m. ET
Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards, 7:00 p.m. ET
Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 8:00 p.m. ET, NBA TV