Numbers prove that the future is bright for LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets. The young point guard came into the league with a lot of baggage and expectations and knocked it out of the park. The last guy that played so well at a young age despite all the expectations was LeBron James. Let’s take a look at how LaMelo’s number stack up next to young LeBron’s.
LaMelo Ball on track for a record for 20-year-olds
Since his first game in the NBA, Ball displayed maturity and game smarts advanced for his age. Melo’s impact reflects on the Charlotte Hornets’ performance this season with a 17-17 record -- much better than expected, still in the playoffs picture in a much stronger East.
The fans are excited, and the players are having fun on the floor. Clearly, Charlotte drafted well, which means Michael Jordan finally did something right for his franchise.
As the Rookie of the Year winner last season, heightened expectations were put on Ball’s shoulders this year. Sophomores in the league usually struggle to live up to the hype of their rookie years but not LaMelo. The former Chino Hills star player improved all his stats across the board. Finally, fans have reason to believe that Hornets could finally turn things around. However, one area of Ball’s game has been impressive and deserves special recognition.
Comparable to the MVP
There are only two players in the league who lead their teams in points, rebounds, assists and steals this season, per Basketball-Reference. One is the current MVP Nikola Jokić, and the other is sophomore LaMelo Ball. The Hornets player is averaging 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1.9 steals and doing it as a 20-year-old player. If he continues his fine display, Ball is on track to become the youngest ever in the game’s history to achieve this feat.
When it comes to young players leading their teams, LeBron James comes to mind. As a 20-year-old, LeBron averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.2 steals in Cleveland. James led the team in points, assists, and steals in that span, but Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden grabbed more rebounds than him.
Context makes LaMelo’s case even more impressive. His supporting cast is undoubtedly better than LeBron’s in Cleveland at the time. To stand out in all four categories without having the entire team designed to fit you, as the Cavs were for LeBron, is a credit to LaMelo’s versatility.
That Wiseman pick is looking worse by the day. Can you imagine LaMelo next to Steph and Draymond? That would've been a sight to see.