LaMelo Ball now odds-on favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year after 1st career triple-double
LaMelo Ball entered the 2020-21 NBA season with equal amounts of hype and derision. His supporters hailed his basketball IQ and court vision, while his detractors harped on his lack of collegiate experience and middling numbers against foreign competition.
Ten games into his NBA career, his supporters appear to be winning out. Ball proved just how special he can be on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, when he became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double. His 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists powered the Hornets to a commanding 113-105 win, and improved Charlotte’s record to 5-5.
Ball’s stellar outing also did wonders for his 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year campaign, as his odds jumped from +350 on Jan. 6 to -134 on Jan. 11.
NBA Rookie of the Year 2020/2021
Mon, July 19 2021, 6:00 AM
Here are three reasons why you might want to back Ball before his odds gets any shorter.
Ball keeps getting better
We’ll be the first to admit that Ball’s NBA debut was anything but auspicious. The Anaheim native went scoreless in 16 minutes against the Cavaliers on Dec. 23 and connected on just 33% of his field goals attempts over his first three games.
LaMelo Ball is the first Top-3 pick to score 0 points in his NBA debut since Otto Porter Jr. (2013).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 24, 2020
The only other Top-3 picks to be held scoreless in their NBA debut over the last 15 seasons are Hasheem Thabeet (2009) and Greg Oden (2008).
h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/PuOKTnu8No
However, he’s been considerably better since, as he’s adapted to the speed and physicality of the NBA. Ball has averaged 15.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists over his past seven games, while shooting 46% from the floor and 34% from beyond the arc.
The swagger has been there, as expected, but it hasn't come at the expense of his efficiency. Ball is averaging just 2.1 turnovers per game, and continues to find new and inventive ways of setting up his teammates for easy buckets.
Ball’s triple double wasn’t a fluke
Triple-doubles may become a common occurrence for Ball, who chipped in 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in a 118-100 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 8. The victory was especially sweet as it came against his older brother, Lonzo, who is now in his fourth year in the Association.
Although the pair matched up only occasionally, Melo got the best of his big bro by hitting a three in his face and later blocking one of his shots.
Playing time won’t be an issue
Unlike some of this year’s top rookies, Ball won’t suffer from a lack of playing time. The lanky point guard has already logged 30 minutes or more in three games and should become an even bigger part of James Borrego’s crunch time units as he continues to earn his coach’s trust.
Get on the Ball
Fellow first year players Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman have all had their moments, but Ball’s dazzling game and splashy numbers put him in a class all his own. Double down on his NBA Rookie of the Year odds now before they get any shorter.