Donovan Mitchell impressed with rookie LaMelo Ball: ‘He’s the real deal’

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Jacob Rude
·2 min read
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On Friday, LaMelo Ball had the best game of his career, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter as part of his 34-point performance. While it wasn’t enough to secure the Hornets a victory, it was enough to leave an impression on one of his opponents.

Jazz superstar guard Donovan Mitchell made a point following the game to mention Ball in his press conference after the rookie’s big night.

“Man, he’s good,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, I’m very impressed with just, one, his playmaking ability, his competitiveness, but his joy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him not smile throughout the entire game and I think that’s something I do. It’s just joy in that he’s there, that he’s here (in the NBA). He’s very talented – he can do many different things. I didn’t really know what to expect, him coming from Australia and his route to get here, but he’s the real deal.

“I’m very impressed with him and how he went about (it). Not just tonight, but how he’s been playing. I think he’s averaging 26 over the last five games or whatever, but he’s the real deal. I’m impressed.”

As Mitchell notes, with Friday’s performance, Ball is averaging 22.6 points over his last five games, shooting 51.9% from the field and 39.3% from 3-point territory. But the joy he plays with is something that has been noticed by teammates, coaches and opponents alike.

“I mean, it’s basketball,” Ball said on playing with joy. “I love the game. So definitely whenever I get the chance to go out there and play, especially with people that I love and am with every day, it’s really fun.”

More than just Ball’s scoring ability, the attitude with which he plays with seems to be making as much of an impression on his colleagues as any points he scores or baskets he sets up.

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