Just a little over two weeks ago, 19-year-old rookie LaMelo Ball saw his lowest minute total since a game two loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although extremely gifted, Ball had a rough game, turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes of action. In fact, he went through a stretch of eight games in which he averaged just nine points a game. Such is the life of an NBA rookie.
As much as Ball struggled during that stretch, he’s completely turned the corner of late. Over that last seven games, he’s averaged 22.3 points, seven assists, and six rebounds per game. He even tied some team records and personal bests in a win over the Hornets on February 8.
Ball connected on seven three-point field goals without participating in pregame warm-ups. He became the third player in league history 19 years of age or younger to have multiple games of 20 point, ten rebounds, and five assists. He joined Luka Doncic and LeBron James in that elite group. More importantly, Ball’s effort ended the Rockets hot streak in which they took down their last five opponents by an average of double-digits.
Ball finished the contest with 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. This performance, along with those in his last several games, show what kind of great potential Ball has, which is to be a start in the NBA. His first 20 games, in which he averaged 12.2 points off the bench, shows his inconsistency, which goes along with being a young, NBA rookie. Ball’s performance against Houston made him the youngest player in league history with at least 20 points, 10 assists and five three-pointers made in a game. The Hornets will still have to live with the occasional clunker game from Ball, but for now, his performance is a great sign for what is to come for years down the road.