The 2021-’22 NBA season is almost here and excitement is building around the league for Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball. Entering his second year in the NBA, the Hornets are viewed as a must-watch team and the hype surrounding Ball is officially off the charts.
Ball, selected No. 3 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, started his rookie season coming off the bench. But it didn’t take long for the point guard to make an impact, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.
He soon joined Charlotte’s starting lineup and blossomed from that point on. While a fractured bone in his right wrist cost him some time, he still won the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year with 84 first-place votes.
- LaMelo Ball stats (2020-’21): 15.7 ppg, 6.1 apg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 spg in 28.8 minutes per contest
As Ball enters his second season with the Hornets, one NBA scout offered a remarkable player comparison to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
“LaMelo is a star. He’s Jason Kidd, with a better jump shot. He’s among the best passers in the NBA already. He showed leadership last season that I didn’t expect from him. You saw the way that team fell apart when he went out. He has a chance to be an All-Star this season.”Anonymous NBA scout on Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, via SI’s Chris Mannix
Keep in mind, Kidd was a 10-time All-Star selection and was named to the All-NBA First Team in five separate seasons. He led the NBA in assists five times and dominated as a defender for more than a decade. More importantly, he’s a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Suggesting that Ball can be a significantly better version of Kidd, which is what adding a jump shot would imply, puts him on a trajectory for more than just stardom. It would mean the 20–year-old has an opportunity to be one of the best players in his generation.
If Ball lives up to the hype, leading a lineup that features Miles Bridges, James Bouknight, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward, Charlotte can be a playoff threat this season. If his game keeps improving and the Hornets surround him with more talent, this team could be a contender for years to come.