It’s no secret that ever since stepping onto the court in the NBA, LaMelo Ball has dominated the national media. He’s getting the same treatment that Zion Williamson received last season, except this year there’s a whole’ cluster of people that despise it. Complaints ranging everywhere from “that was a boring pass” to “he’s not good enough to be covered this much” have filled the comment sections on Twitter and Instagram. Everyone on the national level doesn’t quite understand why Ball is getting so much hype. Well, the reason people don’t understand it is because they’re clearly not watching Hornets basketball.
Lamelo has more mentions from national media yesterday for MISSING a dunk and then getting an assist than Lavine has in the last week for all the dunks, 3s, assists, blocks, and other nice plays he had. Cool. How about we start covering good players, not ones with cool names?— Ⓢⓗⓔⓡⓦⓘⓝ Ⓣⓗⓞⓜⓐⓢ (@sherwinpthomas) January 23, 2021
You already know the only thing the national media is going to talk about is Lamelo’s career high. ♂️— The Colonel (@colby_colonel) February 6, 2021
Lamelo Ball gets way too much attention— Arch (@KingArchboss) January 15, 2021
Every time Ball steps onto the floor, there’s a whole different atmosphere to the game. It’s like he brings an energy that no one else on the team possesses, and if you’re just watching the highlights that won’t translate. Every pass he makes is like a Broadway show, and while there are some that end up as turnovers, you take the good with the bad when the good is as spectacular as it is with Ball.
In the game where the Hornets stomped the Rockets, the commentary team made a great point about Ball’s flashiness. They compared and contrasted him to the best passer the game has ever seen - John Stockton. While this may seem like a lofty comparison, it’s important to understand the context.
Eric Collins and Dell Curry, two of the best in the business by the way, mentioned that while both are extraordinary passers, the key difference comes in the delivery. Stockton filled up the stat sheet with assists on a nightly basis, but at the end of the game no one would really remember any of the passes he made. They were all simple, effective passes just to get the job done. Meanwhile, with Ball every single person watching could remember all of the assists he had, because while they were still effective, they had the flashiness factor to along with it.
On top of that, Ball pushes the pace to the point where the Hornets can dominate in transition. Out of all five-player lineups that have played at least 10 minutes for the Hornets this season, Ball appears in five of the top seven in terms of PACE. This statistic doesn’t even do Ball justice, because the change in style of play is clear as day when watching the games. He brings a whole new element to the floor for Charlotte.
Now, a lot of people may read this and think to themselves, “well just because a player is flashy doesn’t mean they deserve to be all over social media; they have to actually help their team win.” Well boy do I have news for you.
Ever since being inserted into the starting lineup, Ball has helped the Hornets go 3-2 and is averaging 22.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. To further prove the point, one can even look at the impact he’s had all season long. In games where Ball has a positive +/-, the Hornets are 8-1; when Ball has a neutral +/1, they are 2-1; and finally when Ball has a negative +/1 they are 2-11. This information should be paired with the fact that when Ball plays at least 27 minutes, the team is 9-4. If that isn’t enough to prove that Ball helps win basketball games, then nothing will.
LaMelo Ball's shooting technique is getting better slowly.— Filippo (@BarresiFilippo4) February 9, 2021
You can notice that his legs aren't dancing like they were at the start of the season. Still a long way to go. https://t.co/gGxxIbIlj6
Ball has been at the center of national attention because he deserves to be there. He’s the best rookie so far this season, and he plays with the sort of energy that people love to watch. Not only that, but he helps his team win basketball games in the process. If you’re one of the people still hating on Ball, then I encourage you to check out some Hornets games before you let that hate continue. He might just surprise you.