Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball was named NBA Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, becoming the third player in franchise history to capture the honor, joining Larry Johnson (1991-92) and Emeka Okafor (2004-05).
Ball, 19, received 84 first-place votes and earned 465 total points from a global panel of 99 sportswriters and broadcasters.
Ball was among a group of three finalists for the award, along with Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards.
Edwards received the other 15 first-place votes and finished second with 309 points. Haliburton finished third with 114 points.
Ball, whose older brother Lonzo plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, took an unconventional route to the NBA, playing in Australia and Lithuania instead of U.S. colleges.
The third overall pick in last year’s draft by Charlotte, Ball filled up the scoresheet with 15.7 points per game, 6.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals. A wrist injury limited him to only 51 games (31 starts).
Ball silenced critics who questioned his long-range ability, connecting on 35.2 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Edwards, 19, who put up 14.9 points per game before the All-Star break, scored 23.8 points per game the rest of the way to finish at 19.3 in 72 games (55 starts). The No. 1 overall pick in 2020, he stepped it up in his final eight games, shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range and scoring 27 points per game.
Haliburton, 21, averaged 13 points and 5.3 assists and hit 40.9 percent on his 3-point tries in 58 games (20 starts).
–Field Level Media