While it’s still early in the 2020-21 NBA season, Charlotte Hornets rookie point guard LaMelo Ball is already drawing a considerable amount of praise.
Mere days after breaking the record for the youngest player in NBA history to post a triple-double, Ball—the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft—already has an opposing head coach making a case for him to be the Rookie of the Year. In this case, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle pointed out Ball’s rare “flare” and “energy” in particular.
Averaging 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game at 19-years-old is no insignificant feat and it’s even more impressive when realizing he’s posting those numbers while coming off the bench for 25.3 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes, Ball is averaging 16.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game, numbers that are certainly inspiring if they’re any indication of his future production.
That said, although they’re the most impressive of his draft class, statistics are only one part of the story when it comes to Ball.
As Carlisle rightly pointed out, Ball sensational play style lends itself to team success and league-wide adoration. Although he’s not on either of their levels as a pro player yet, Ball plays like a mash-up of Magic Johnson and Stephen Curry, arguably the two best point guards in league history.
At this point, although there are other rookies who are performing well this season—like Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman or Sacramento Kings point guard Tyrese Haliburton—you would be hard-pressed to say that there’s anyone playing better than Ball has thus far.