By Nicholas Knoth
Perhaps initially best known for his eccentric father, his peculiar shooting technique, or his tendency to pull up from around half-court, LaMelo Ball has come to attract serious media attention ever since becoming a starter on the Charlotte Hornets.
At the time of writing, LaMelo averages an impressive 22.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 6 rebounds per game, according to SlamOnline. Moreover, Ball has been performing exceptionally well from beyond the arc, shooting just over fifty percent since starting.
As a result, Ball has become a major topic of discussion on major media platforms and millions of fans worldwide, especially in regard to the Rookie of the Year award. Even NBA legend Magic Johnson weighed in on the matter on Twitter, proclaiming that LaMelo is the “leading candidate.”
Of course, LaMelo’s outspoken father, LaVar Ball, also shared his thoughts on LaMelo as a contender for Rookie of the Year. When asked if he thought LaMelo would win, Lavar said it was “guaranteed.”
It is worth noting that LaVar’s controversial statements and predictions have not always come to fruition. For example, after his oldest son, Lonzo Ball, was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans last year, Lavar said “it will be the worst move the Lakers ever did in they life and they’ll never win another championship. Guarantee it. They’re going to regret it; I’m going to have fun with it.” If you read my article published in October, however, you’d know this was certainly not the case as the Lakers went on to win the title without Lonzo as a Laker.
Regardless, as LaMelo objectively leads this year’s class of rookies in terms of statistics, LaVar might not be too far off in his recent statement. Moving forward, though, it will be important that LaMelo continues to statistically outperform his competitors as there is still plenty of time for other rookies to catch up.
Complementing his on-paper performance, LaMelo’s style of play has also helped him become a leading contender for Rookie of the Year. From his flashy behind-the-back passes to his deep threes to his wild alley-oops to teammate and freak-athlete Miles Bridges, LaMelo is simply a fun player to watch. Although other rookies like Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton aren’t too far behind statistically, Ball’s streetball-like style has given him an extra leg up in the form of significant media attention.
Although things are looking good for LaMelo at the moment, the NBA can be unpredictable, especially this year, so it will certainly be exciting to watch in suspense how these ambitious rookies continue to compete for the 2021 Rookie of the Year.