Charlotte Hornets rookie guard LaMelo Ball virtually clinched the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year 10 games into his season when he became the youngest player in NBA History to record a triple double.
The Voting and Wednesday’s announcement was just a formality.
Ball finished with 465 votes while Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards finished a distant second with 309 points . The Kings’ Tyrese Haliburton finished third with 114.
On the season, Ball averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game and shot 43.6 percent from the field, and his play became one of the main reasons why the Hornets were competitive this season and fun to watch. If it wasn’t for Ball sustaining a wrist injury that kept him out of the lineup for 21 games, the Hornets would have had a prime opportunity to clinch a playoff berth instead of the play in.
With all that being said, the expectations for Charlotte next season will and should be playoffs or bust. The Hornets made the play in despite Ball’s injury but since the team also picked up the option on head coach James Borrego, the expectation is that he and Ball can lead the team to their first playoff berth since 2016. In order to make that goal a reality, the front office will feel a bit of pressure to make adjustments to the roster. Expect the Hornets to either sign or trade for a big-an area that’s been a concern for years. A big would certainly help with the Hornets rebounding issues-not to mention pick and roll and pick and pop opportunities for Ball.
As far as Ball’s individual play is concerned for next season, he’s on the right trajectory. There should be no regression in his progress. What will be interesting to see from him however is whether or not his percentage from three will be consistent or this season was an outlier. This season, Ball shot a decent 35.2 percent from three. If he can replicate this percentage next season, it will help keep defenses honest and help spread the floor.