LaMelo Ball is objectively the best first-year player in the NBA this season. If he had been healthy for the entirety of his 2020-21 campaign, it wouldn’t even be a debatable topic.
This week, Ball was asked about whether winning Rookie of the Year was a priority for him coming into the season.
“Nah, not really. I ain’t really look at it as a goal,” Ball told Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times.
“I just knew I was going to go out there, just had to be me. And if chips fall where they fall, you get the rookie of the year or you don’t. You still just got to play, though. It’s more of a team game. I’m trying to go to the playoffs, trying to go on a deep run, stuff like that.”
On Tuesday night, the Hornets clinched a play-in game slot for this year’s playoffs despite a 117-112 defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. This occurred because the Chicago Bulls also lost their game.
Charlotte currently sits in the No. 8 spot and has the same record as the Indiana Pacers, over whom they hold the tiebreaker. If that keeps, the Hornets would have two opportunities to make the postseason. The first would be a matchup against the Boston Celtics in the play-in game for the No. 7 seed, and then if they lost that, a matchup against either the Pacers or probably the Washington Wizards for the No. 8 seed.
That’s one way to do it. https://t.co/FPdnapbQPX
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 10, 2021
Much of Charlotte’s success this year can be attributed to Ball. His unique relationship with team owner Michael Jordan is a direct byproduct of that.
On the court, Ball has put up inarguably the most impressive numbers of any rookie in the league. Off it, he has been linked to one adult film star after another. He has even developed his own special formula for picking up Instagram models.
Aside from one minor physical altercation with a teammate, Ball’s rookie campaign has been flawless.
Will he ultimately be rewarded with the top honors a first-year player can get? Time will tell.