LaMelo Ball Broken Wrist Likely to End 2021 Season
Hornets guard and rookie of the year front runner LaMelo Ball suffered a wrist injury during a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. After undergoing tests and having the injury evaluated by Doctor’s, it appears that Ball has fractured a bone in his wrist and will be out indefinitely. Ball, the former No. 3 pick of Charlotte a year ago, is expected to see his rookie campaign come to an end as a frontrunner for rookie of the year.
Ball is expected to meet with Dr. Michelle Carlson in New York in the coming days for one final opinion on the injury, but the expectation is that his season is over.
Impact of Injury
The Hornets currently sit at the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, and they are hanging onto that playoff spot for dear life. Ball’s injury serves as a crushing blow to a young team fighting for a playoff spot. With the absence of Ball the Hornets will be missing a key playmaker on the offensive end with the ability to make incredible passes and catch fire from beyond the arc. With that being said, the Hornets have an oversized timepiece to build around for the future, and when he can return healthy to the lineup, the Hornets are a playoff team.
Ball’s Rookie Season
After being drafted highly by the Charlotte Hornets, plenty of people had high expectations for LaMelo Ball, including team owner Michael Jordan. Ball is the youngest brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and forward Liangelo Ball, who has bounced around the NBA and G-League. Originally Ball started the season with an undefined role needing to prove that he has what it takes to start at the NBA level. Immediately Ball came in and did an exceptional job for a player so young, scoring and creating offense for his teammates.
At just 19, Ball is averaging 15.9 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 6.1 assists per game. Ball scored a career-high 34 points against the Jazz and tallied one triple-double. It was no secret that Ball had incredible potential to come into the NBA, but one thing that he lacked was experience against top prospects in the U.S.
The traditional path for a basketball player to take in the NBA in high school, then college, and then to the draft. Ball was ineligible to play NCAA basketball and played in different leagues overseas. So far, Ball has adjusted to the NBA rather quickly and should take a significant step forward in year two.
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Rookie of the Year Outlook
As things stand right now, LaMelo Ball will have played in only 41 of 82 games if he does not return from injury. This makes things very difficult in terms of winning the Rookie of the Year award as he will be missing a significant portion of the NBA season, and other players will be able to build their stat lines and grow as the season wears on.
Ball was the clear frontrunner for the award before the injury, and his Vegas odds reached upwards of -200. Following the injury, Ball has now been replaced by No. 1 overall pick Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards. Edwards is currently a -182 odd favorite, with Ball ranking in second at +225. Right now, it appears that only one name is in consideration for the award behind Edwards and Ball, and that is Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton at +300.
Anthony Edwards continues to improve on the worst team in the entire NBA. Edwards is averaging 16.7 points per game along with 4.3 rebounds per game.