The 2020-21 rookie class is a huge question mark – in a good way, of course. It’s as interesting as it can be because unlike most years, we don’t have the slightest clue on which guys have the upper hand.
Well, not for the always outspoken LaVar Ball, who has spewed yet another flashy, eyebrow-raising remark. Ever the proud father of his three ‘hooper’ sons, LaVar told TMZ Sports that he guarantees youngest son and new Charlotte Hornet, LaMelo Ball, will in Rookie of the Year honors.
“Rookie of the Year? Guarantee! Teaming up with Michael Jordan and you can’t get Rookie of the Year? Are you crazy?”Lavar Ball on his son Lamelo’s chances of winning Rookie of the Year.
As you know, that type of energy is LaVar’s trademark. He did the same hype job in 2017 when oldest son, Lonzo, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and also 2019, when ‘Zo was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. None of that ROY and playoff talk came to fruition anyway – not to take anything away from Lonzo Ball.
There’s an added amusement in that quote above too, since one of LaVar’s most infamous quotes, which is saying a lot, was about him beating consensus basketball G.O.A.T and Hornets principal owner Michael Jordan one-on-one.
But enough about LaVar. Let’s quickly examine LaMelo’s chances at winning ROY.
The Hornets are a perennial lottery team that have a lot of holes to fill, but they arguably did the right thing in selecting LaMelo with the third pick. He was the most heralded player available.
The kid is a 6’7 point guard that can handle the ball, attack the basket, facilitate, and do all-around playmaking duties. While shot selection could definitely be a whole lot better, it’s easy to expect that he can be wiser moving forward. He’s only 19 years old, and has lived, breathed, eaten, and bathed basketball all his life – his upside is still enormous.
One major challenge, however, is the clog in the Hornets’ guard rotation, which may affect his overall production. LaMelo will be sharing floor time with Terry Rozier, DeVonte Graham, and Malik Monk, and though he can learn from each, they are likely take away countless opportunities for playing time.
The signing of Gordon Hayward, meanwhile, may help ‘Melo adjust faster in certain parts of the game, and they may soon form a good backcourt tandem if it proves to be the correct pairing. But, of course, Hayward will also eat up other areas.
Whichever it may be, if LaMelo Ball is really the player that we believe he is, he’ll be able to show it soon enough, with or without a handful of guards or ball-dominant swingmen in the depth chart. We’ve seen it time and again with other heralded rookies.