News broke on Wednesday that Charlotte Hornets phenom LaMelo Ball will be named the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The only thing that was going to potentially hinder Ball’s candidacy was a fractured wrist he suffered down the stretch of an otherwise magnificent maiden NBA campaign.
Minnesota Timberwolves No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards made a solid case for the award with an exceptional showing after the All-Star break. In that span, Edwards averaged 23.8 points per contest. It wasn’t enough, however, as Ball won out for Rookie of the Year in the end.
Ball was the third pick in the 2020 draft and immediately delivered on the hype. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per contest in 51 games.
StatMuse highlighted some of Ball’s notable rookie achievements that put him in elite company:
The Hornets were on course to shock the NBA world thanks to Ball bursting onto the scene and Gordon Hayward’s resurgent season. Unfortunately, Hayward also got hurt toward the end of the season, which derailed Charlotte’s promising bid for a legitimate, non-play-in tournament playoff spot.
As long as Ball can stay healthy going forward, there’s no reason to doubt him. The 19-year-old prodigy has excellent floor vision, great length for the point guard position, has developed faster than expected as a perimeter shooter and is only going to get stronger as he continues to grow.