Hornets’ GM Reveals why LaMelo Ball Doesn’t Look Like a Rookie

Published 12/19/2020, 11:30 PM EST
Dec 14, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) gets fouled by Toronto Raptors forward Stanley Johnson (5) during the second half at the Spectrum Center. Raptors won 112-109. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports


The Charlotte Hornets selected LaMelo Ball with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Before even entering the league, there was immense hype around the rookie and he’s become a social media sensation thanks to his father, LaVar Ball, who is known to pull off dramatic antics to grab everyone’s attention.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

It looks like the entire Ball family wants to create an impact in the NBA. LaVar’s eldest son Lonzo, plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, but let’s focus on LaMelo for now and what he brings to the Hornets.

LaMelo Ball is swiftly adapting to the intensity of the league

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Things were looking shaky for LaMelo in the Hornets’ preseason opener. The rookie ended with zero points and four rebounds on his debut. However, in the subsequent game against the Toronto Raptors, LaMelo got off the mark and sensationally soared to a 12.0 point performance.

According to Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak, Melo is no ordinary rookie. “[LaMelo] doesn’t have the demeanor of a normal rookie,” he told SiriusXM NBA Radio.

“LaMelo played overseas in Lithuania, where they have a good basketball league there. Then he spent last year in Australia, where they have a good league too. So, he’s used to playing against older men, professionally, and I think that bodes well for him. It doesn’t look like he’s a rookie. He fits right in,” expressed Kupchak.

Dec 12, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) passes behind his back as he is defended by Toronto Raptors forward DeAndreÕ Bembry (95) during the second half at the Spectrum Center. Raptors won 111-100. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Kupchak noted how LaMelo can further elevate his game

Mitch also opened up about the qualities that make Ball a good player. “He just turned 19 in August. So, he is a very, very young player. I feel he’s an elite passer. He has great energy on the court. He lights up the room when he walks in and he’s a sponge when it comes to talking basketball and sitting down with our coaches. So, there’s a lot of good stuff there.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, he isn’t perfect, and having just entered the big league, the teenager needs to work on certain areas. “He’s going to have to get stronger,” asserted Mitch. An athlete always has scope for more improvement and LaMelo Ball is no exception.

“He’s going to have to pick his spots when it comes to making a pass or making a simple pass versus a home-run pass. And he’s going to have to figure out how to be an offensive threat in this league as well,” Kupchak added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Kupchak is optimistic despite these shortcomings, as he knows that Ball is willing to work hard because of his love for the game. Let’s see how far the Hornets go this season under their new superstar signings!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Yashima Bhatia

1489 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT