2020-21 Charlotte Hornets Player Review: LaMelo Ball

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LaMelo Ball has had expectations throughout his life and basketball career, largely through no fault of his own. Entering his rookie year with the Hornets, Ball had not only the expectations of being the No. 3 pick but of the future of the franchise.

None of it ever weighed Ball down as he hit the ground running and took the league by storm. Ball not only surpassed expectations, he became one of the brightest young players of the league.

Now, the Hornets will look to build around its star asset of the future as they look to maximize what they found in 2020-21.

Stat of the Season

4.

Before Ball going down with injury on March 20, he led or was second among rookies in four statistical categories, leading in rebounds, assists, steals and sitting second in points behind Anthony Edwards.

Notable Exit Interview Quote

On mindset for sophomore season…

“You want to go into every year just thinking championship because, if not, why are you even playing or what are you even doing? That’s the mindset people have to have.”

Overview

Through one game, Ball’s rookie season could not have started worse. It was a record-setting performance in all the worst ways.

The ensuing 50 games of his season could not have gone better. Even the highest of expectations were exceeded as Ball earned his way into the starting lineup through his ability to make winning plays throughout the contest and even late into the game.

At times, it was his rebounding. Other times, it was his scoring. Most often, it was his passing. On any given night, Ball could impact the game in any number of ways, something that rookies rarely are able to do.

Outlook

Even the most optimistic within the Hornets front office on Ball couldn’t have predicted his ascension this rapidly. Now, it forces the team to shape its roster around him this offseason as they look to maximize Ball’s skillset.

Add some shooting, mix in a little more defense and give Ball a pick-and-roll partner and Charlotte could become much more than a surprising play-in team but a consistent contender in the east.

Related

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List

What makes LaMelo Ball special? Hornets players and NBA coaches weigh in

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