LaVar Ball Says It's 'Guaranteed!' LaMelo Ball Is Winning Rookie of the Year

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks brings the ball up during a game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney. The Charlotte Hornets selected Ball in the NBA draft Wednesday, Nov. 18. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The outspoken LaVar Ball said it's "guaranteed" his son LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets' new point guard, will be the NBA's Rookie of the Year for the 2020-21 season.

"Teaming up with Michael Jordan and you can't get Rookie of the Year? Are you crazy?" the elder Ball told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday.

LaMelo was the third overall pick in the 2020 draft by the Hornets, whose chairman is Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and five-time Most Valuable Player.

LaVar made the same prediction for one of his older sons, Lonzo Ball, after he was the second overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 draft. The Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons won the award and Lonzo, who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, didn't receive a single vote.

LaMelo took a nontraditional route to the NBA, playing for BC Prienai in Lithuania and Australia's Illawarra Hawks before entering the draft.

The 6'7" point guard was impressive in limited appearances for the Hawks, averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals across 12 games.

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Although his size, versatility and playmaking ability should make him an instant-impact player for the Hornets, putting up the type of numbers necessary to win Rookie of the Year could be difficult on a roster with plenty of guard and wing depth.

He'll join a group already featuring Terry Rozier, Devonte' Graham, Miles Bridges, Nicolas Batum, Malik Monk and the recently signed Gordon Hayward.

That's not only a lot of competition for shots, but the presence of Rozier and Graham likely means Ball won't be running the offense full time at the outset. It won't be until the logjam is cleared in the coming years, either via trades or contracts expiring, that the No. 3 pick will begin to reach his statistical peak.