Rookie of the Year runner up, LaMelo Ball scores career high against Utah Jazz and gets his first start

William Sanchez-Madrid, Sports Editor

LaMelo Ball made his first start in the NBA Jan. 29, 2021 against the Miami Heat. They came out with a 129-121 win in overtime. Ball replaced Terry Rozier in the starting line up due to Rozier’s sprained ankle. Ball finished the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists in 31 minutes of playing time.

“He’s obviously had an impact on our team. He’s played against starters and he’s played against bench guys. This isn’t anything new to him, something he hasn’t seen,” said James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets head coach via News and Observer when asked about Ball’s next step. “I expect him to play the same way: Same spirit, same energy.”

In the next game, Ball dropped his career high with 34 points against the Utah Jazz.  Although the Jazz pulled a win 138-121 against Charlotte, Ball shot 14 of 27 from the field with a total of 4 three pointers, one block and zero turn overs. Ball has the most points scored by a rookie on the Hornets since 1993. According to ESPN, Borrego said he was most pleased with the fact that Ball had zero turnovers. Ball averages 2.5 turnovers per game, leaving him sitting out on the bench during a lot of games.

Ball also became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double in a win against the Atlanta Hawks. Not only are his stats impressive, but the Charlotte Hornets are also winning games and can potentially make the playoffs.

In order to make the playoffs a team has to be ranked top eighth in their conference. As of Feb. 9, 2021 the Hornets are ranked sixth in the playoff seed for the Eastern Conference.

“With LaMmelo joining the Charlotte Hornets it makes me excited for the future of this franchise,” said Josh Burkhardt, senior. 

Ball has a bright future ahead of him and could take his team to the next level—the playoffs. With this young star and a bright spotlight on him, the team needs to focus on rebuilding their team around him.

“He brings a lot of quality to the team and he makes the Hornets a fun team to watch. He has vision, creativity and he’s crafty,” said Burkhardt.