The NBA has announced Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball as the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year, edging out second-place Minnesota Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards and third-place Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton.
Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has been voted the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, sources tell ESPN. Announcement expected soon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 16, 2021
Ball, the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from deep and 75.8 percent from the line. Despite not starting a game until February 1, he was the only player in the last 60 seasons to lead rookies in total points, rebounds, assists and steals heading into the All-Star break and he finished the season as the only qualified rookie to average 18-7-7 per-36 minutes since Oscar Robertson in 1960-61.
We could go all day with these wild stats. Per-36 minutes, only six other NBA players met Ball’s stat line threshold (19.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.7 assists); Luka Doncic, James Harden, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook. Ball led the group with 2.0 steals per-36, which includes the greatest basketball player on Earth, a former MVP, a future MVP, the current MVP, and a guy who’s averaged a triple-double three times. Is that good?
Ball becomes the third Charlotte player to win the award, following Larry Johnson in 1991-92 and Emeka Okafor in 2004-05. Kemba Walker finished 11th, receiving three third-place votes for Rookie of the Year when Kyrie Irving won it in 2011-12.
It’s fair to assume that this comes as a surprise to nobody that visits this wonderful website. Ball was the best and most consistent rookie in the NBA this season, and that includes him missing 21 games due to a fractured right wrist that affected his ability to perform during the Hornets’ skid to end the year.
I’ve said or written it about 1.83 million times, but what this franchise has in Ball can’t be overstated. The Hornets have an organizational building block. They’ve got “the guy.” That’s far and away the hardest part of building a successful NBA team. We can rest easy knowing the Rookie of the Year landed in Charlotte, and that the 2020 Draft put the Hornets in a position they haven’t been in decades, if ever.