Watch out, LaMelo Ball is coming.
Charlotte Hornets rookie PG LaMelo Ball is making his presence felt in the NBA already. The youngest of the Ball brothers easily recorded a triple-double 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists on Saturday night (Jan.9) in the Hornets 113-105 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, putting him in the history books as the youngest NBA player to do so. Ball supplanted the Orlando Magic’s Markelle Fultz, who held the record previously by 177 days.
The 3rd pick in the 2020 NBA draft also made team history becoming the first Hornets players to log in a triple-double while coming off the bench.
Ball accomplished the feat after previously flirting with a triple-double in a marquee matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, where he faced his brother Lonzo Ball as a pro on Friday night (Jan.8). LaMelo finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, just coming up short in the Hornets victory over his brother’s team.
After he made history, Ball was showered with praise from his coach and fellow players. A 19-year-old rookie does not look like this,” said Hornets’ head coach James Borrego. “This is rare what you’re seeing. He’s not rattled by the moment. It’s like he’s been doing this for several years.”
Speaking on his accomplishment, Ball isn’t letting it get to his head.
“I live my life, and I know what I’m capable of, so stuff like this doesn’t move me like that,” Ball said. “I know that’s supposed to happen.”
Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young was very complimentary of Ball after playing against him, adding:
“He’s a tall PG who can pass, can rebound, and he’s a smart player. Things are going to become even easier for him in this league as he plays more and more games.”
Ball, who has plenty of offensive firepower in his repertoire, has impressed NBA fans with his pass-first mentality. His teammate PJ Washington who was the recipient of several of his passes, spoke on the rookie’s passing ability after the Hornets’ victory.
“It’s tough because you don’t know when it’s coming. He might throw it behind his head, behind his back, or straight to you. You have to be active and aware when he has the ball. It’s always fun playing with a guy like that.”
The season is still young, but could LaMelo Ball help make the Hornets one of the league’s dark horse teams this year? We definitely are going to be keeping our eyes on them as the season plays out.
Photo: Jared C. Tilton / Getty