Injuries cost Lamelo Ball 21 games, but his play when healthy was enough for the NBA to announce him the 20/21 Rookie of The Year. The Hornets point guard received 84 first-place votes and a total of 465. The Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards, who was also the first pick of the ’20 NBA Draft, finished second with 15 first-place votes. The third-place belongs to the Kings‘ guard Tyrese Haliburton.
In 51 games played, Ball averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 43.6% from the floor, 35.2% from three, and 75.8% from the free-throw line, joining Luka Doncic as the only rookie in the NBA history to average 15/5/5 and 1.5+ threes in a season. He led all rookies in assists and steals and made an immediate impact with the Hornets, securing them a play-in spot with 33 wins. Melo also became the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in just his 10th career game.
Not bad for a guy who, coming into the league, many compared to Spencer Dinwiddie. But Lavar Ball never bought into that. Instead, he compared his youngest son to another big point guard, who, had it not been for injuries, had the talent to become an all-time great.
If anybody he plays like, if you look, it’s more like Penny Hardaway.Lavar Ball, Club Shay Shay
One year into Melo’s NBA career, the parallel Lavar drew doesn’t sound so crazy anymore. Lamelo and Penny put up nearly identical numbers in their rookie campaigns and Hardaway wasn’t even awarded ROY for it. But he did make a big jump in his second NBA season, bumping up his numbers to 20.9 points and 7.2 assists.
It isn’t crazy to expect Lamelo to do the same thing. He’s proved he’s got the talent for it and the whole Hornets organization is behind him. The only thing left is for Ball father to guarantee it. Knowing Lavar, it’s only a matter of time.
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