Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball is quietly becoming the face of the franchise

Charlotte Hornets LaMelo Ball (Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets LaMelo Ball (Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports) /

LaMelo Ball is quietly becoming the face of the Charlotte Hornets

When the Charlotte Hornets drafted LaMelo Ball with the third overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, they knew they were adding a special player to their roster.

LaMelo is one-third of the Ball brothers who were all destined to play in the NBA. His two older brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo, who also found their way to the NBA (Lonzo was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers and is currently a member of the New Orleans Pelicans and LiAngelo is currently a member of the Detroit Pistons G League Affiliate) under the guidance of their father Lavar Ball who instilled a love for the game in his sons at a young age.

LaMelo, whose potential was first noticed when he scored 92 points in a high school game, took an unconventional route to the NBA as he agreed to play overseas instead of opting to play college ball.

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He signed with the Illawarra Hawks, a National Basketball League franchise in Australia. It didn’t take long for LaMelo to make an impact in the NBA as he became the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double scoring 22 points, grabbing 12 rebounds with 11 assists in a win against the Atlanta Hawks just 10 games into his young career.

It was just a matter of time until LaMelo had a breakthrough performance but nobody expected it to be this soon as this triple-double he posted of just a sign of great things to come. LaMelo is averaging 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds to go along with 5.9 assists while playing 24.9 minutes per game, and should be the early-season frontrunner to win the Rookie of the Year award.

LaMelo, only 19 years old, will more than likely have similar games like the one he just had against the Hawks posting more triple-doubles in what is becoming a great start to his young and promising career. There exists the possibility of breaking Russell Westbrook’s season record of 42 triple-doubles and as we very well one day could witness him make a run at Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 181.

Take into consideration that LaMelo is still coming off the bench putting up these fantastic numbers and it’s only a matter of time before he is inserted into the starting lineup. It took a few games for him to get acclimated to the speed and nuances of the NBA game.

His first three games were abysmal performances as he put up totals of 6.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.  But critics should have known better than to write him off after only three games into his career. As he has started to figure things out, his play began to dramatically improve as he is currently averaging 16 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists over his last seven games.

He is also leading all rookies in every major statistical category (points, rebounds, and assists)  which is a pretty impressive feat in itself.  LaMelo is adept at picking apart a defense and is a better passer than his older brother Lonzo who finished in the top 15 in assists per game last season.

He is an intellectual with a high IQ  and will even be better when the game slows down for him. He can dictate the flow and tempo of an offense and can execute any type of pass from no-looks, bounce passes, lobs, and behind the back. At 6-foot-7, LaMelo will have a definite size advantage against smaller point guards making it easy for him to score.

If he is double-teamed while driving to the paint, he can efficiently make the right read and dish it off to an open teammate or shoot a floater or layup. His height and length also help him to accumulate rebounds which will be the reason he will become a triple-double machine for most of his career.

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This is just the beginning of great things to come for LaMelo as we can look forward to him making plenty of all-star appearances while competing for MVP’s and championships as the future face of the Charlotte Hornets franchise.