LaMelo Ball helped lead his Charlotte Hornets to a thrilling 1-point victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Ball scored 31 points on 7 of 9 three-point shooting and added 9 rebounds and 7 assists. While we don’t want to overreact to just 1 game, the question has to be asked; is LaMelo ball an MVP candidate this season?
LaMelo the Leader
While Charlotte is not exactly a dominant team, the Michael Jordan owned franchise has potential to be a sleeper in the Easter Conference. Along with LaMelo, the Hornets have a budding star in forward Miles Bridges, experience in Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, and Terry Rozier, and plenty of young depth to make them an interesting team.
Charlotte is not yet expected to make the playoffs, but there is a slight possibility of them sneaking into the 8 seed in the East. In order to make this happen, LaMelo would have to produce MVP-esque numbers.
If he is able to lead Charlotte to a successful season with this current roster, Ball will certainly be rewarded for his efforts. However, the Hornets would probably have to swing a deal or two at the deadline to become a legitimate contender.
Ball is a 6’7 point guard with impressive court awareness. This outstanding first game of the season gives us a glimpse at who Peak LaMelo might be, as he could become a triple-double machine. Ball has the tools to be a consistent scorer with a reliable jumpshot and finishing ability.
Because of the aforementioned court awareness and strong passing ability, expect him to rack up the assist numbers. And standing 6’7, he is going to grab a significant number of boards from the point guard position.
In an injury shortened 2020-2021 rookie campaign, Ball averaged 15.7 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, and 5.9 rebounds per game which earned him the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
I am intrigued to see if he improves from a defensive standpoint, as he was able to average 1.6 steals per game a season ago. If he can become a steady perimeter defender, this is a player who might be considered one of the most well-rounded point guards in the game.
While many doubters labeled the 20 year old LaMelo Ball as overhyped and overrated heading into the season, he is a young and special talent with a spectacular natural skill set and is set to leave his mark on the league this year. LaMelo should be in the all star conversation and could even sneak some MVP votes following the conclusion of the regular season. But playing in a small market such as Charlotte will likely leave him on the outside looking in when it comes to winning the MVP.
At just 20 years old, he does have some growing to do as well.
Still, I would go so far as to call LaMelo an MVP sleeper candidate entering his sophomore campaign.