Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets got it right when they selected LaMelo Ball third overall in the 2020 NBA draft. The youngest of the Ball brother triumvirate hasn’t disappointed one bit, and he’s brought a swag and confidence to the Hornets. Despite missing significant time last season, he won NBA Rookie of the Year. He also led the young, upstart Hornets into the play-in game round of the NBA playoffs.
Melo is a full-fledged star capable of effecting a game in many ways. He’s got extreme confidence and star quality, but he’s also a team player who deserves an All-Star nod. Let’s be honest. Melo is the only reason people outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, watch the Hornets. Terry Rozier is a dog, but he isn’t a gate-turner like “Must See TV” Melo.
The upstart Hornets have surged behind Melo’s elevation as a player and are 25-20 and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. If the season ended today, the Hornets would be playoff-bound.
Lavar Ball with the "I Told You So!" hat courtside watching LaMelo vs. Lonzo 😆 pic.twitter.com/vl9dKWwuxq
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) November 30, 2021
After scorching it up as a rookie to the tune of 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game, Melo continues his upward trajectory and is averaging 19.4 points, 7.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 20, 2022
Teammate Kelly Oubre Jr. was asked his opinion about LaMelo as an All-Star:
“Oh for sure. I’m voting for him,” said Oubre Jr., “but obviously that’s not up to me. He has my vote though, for sure. As he should have a lot of other NBA players’ votes.”
In a December duel against Giannis, the younger Ball Brother scored a career-high 36 points on 12-for-22 shooting, including 5 of 8 from three. That’s a Steph Curry-type of shooting night. Ball added five rebounds, nine assists, and three steals to his stat line.
LAMELO BALL CLUTCH.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 11, 2022
Head coach James Borrego raved about Ball’s cerebral play in a postgame presser following a win over the Pistons. The team had 39 assists and 140 points.
“It’s what he does. The 12 assists are important to us. When he had double-digit assists, most times we like the results. He generates ball movement for us. When he does it spreads throughout the team.”
— Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) December 8, 2021
LaMelo Affects The Game Even When He Isn’t Scoring: All-Around Lead Guard
Ball’s pure shooting is still a work in progress. But it’s his innate ability to affect the game in other ways that make him special. He currently leads the Hornets in rebounds and assists, and he’s second in scoring behind the much-improved Miles Bridges. The former Chino Hills product is conducting himself as an experienced pro who’s well beyond his second year in the league. He was the same way as a rookie no fear or nerves, just a baller looking to make plays for himself and his teammates
"We going No. 1 overall back-to-back in a few years?"
— ESPN (@espn) April 6, 2020
LaMelo Has Been Considered The Best Of The Brothers By Father LaVar Ball: He Hasn’t Disappointed
When LaVar Ball is your dad, you can expect some outlandish things to be said, but that’s just who he is. Ball has offered any number of outlandish notions, but when he said LaMelo would be the best of his sons he was on the money.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 15, 2022
On an episode of their hit show “Ball In The Family,” LaVar said, “In the long run, I guarantee you he’ll be the best one.”
Some pundits will say, “even a broke clock is right twice a day.” Others will say the rise of Melo Ball was “written in the stars.”
His popularity is growing with the fans, his peers have the respect for his game, and the media is finally separating his record-breaking accomplishments from his father’s overzealousness.
Ball is nowhere near his ceiling at 20, and he’s already earned the right to be an All-Star.
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