So it’s the beginning of another unique NBA season and very early into it, but there’ve been some players definitely ready to play. LaMelo Ball, the youngest ball brother made his NBA debut, and it was a little shaky, but now he’s been performing to a high level and has helped the Hornets get some W’s under their belt. Everyone was a little iffy about how well he would perform in the NBA, but he’s displayed his talents and has proven he might be the best Ball brother. He started the season playing only 15 minutes a game and now is averaging around 30 minutes a game. Critics are starting to question head coach Borrego because he still has Melo coming off the bench. Today’s topic is “The “Best” Ball Brother?”
Let’s start at the beginning and go back to LaMelo’s AAU days. Before high school, LaMelo played with his brother Lonzo and LiAngelo on Big Ballers, which was an AAU team his father coached. This is when the “Ball Brothers” first started to become a big name in basketball. Everyone knows how obnoxious Lavar, his father is, and all his talking worked to his advantage. The Ball Family was always in the media because of the hype Lavar made about his sons, so everyone wanted to see if it was true or all talk.
LaMelo played at Chino Hills High School, alongside his two older brothers. As a freshman, he helped Chino Hills win a CIF state title. His sophomore year, Chino Hills took a devastating loss to Oak Hill Academy, which ended their 60-game win streak. He averaged 26.7 points and close to 10 assists per game. At this time Lonzo had left Chino Hills and played for UCLA, so now there were only two brothers left. After this season, Lavar decided to take LaMelo out of Chino Hills and homeschool him because he didn’t like the new head coach, but this could’ve been Lavar just wanting to stir the pot like he usually does.
Running with the Pros:
Shortly after, LaMelo decided to take the professional route and he and his brother LiAngelo signed with an agent to play professionally overseas. They both signed to play in Lithuania in the LKL (Lithuanian Basketball League) and at this time they were headlined in the media 24/7. Everyone has their opinions, but some came off as negative because of the way their father behaved when the spotlight was on him. Lithuania didn’t last too long because Lavar wasn’t happy with the amount of playing time he received, which was only 12.8 minutes. So Lavar pulled his sons off the team and moved his family back home.
So as a result of Lavar not being happy, he created a new league in 2018 for his son to play in called the JBA (Junior Basketball Association). LaMelo signed with the Los Angeles Ballers and led them to a championship.
Back to High School:
LaMelo Skipped his junior season, but returned back to the U.S to play part of his senior season and played at the SPIRE Institute and Academy in Ohio. Due to eligibility reasons some teams had to cancel games against them because it would affect the teams eligibility with LaMelo being a former professional athlete. He was selected as an MacDonald’s All-American, but was ruled ineligible because of his professional experience. He had a successful senior season and was named MVP.
Back to the Pros:
So LaMelo signed a two-year deal to play in the NBL, based in Australia. This team was aimed at developing players for the NBA. He became the fourth player in league history to record consecutive triple-doubles. He was voted rookie of the year at the end of the season, but left the league early on January 28th to prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft. He only played in 12 games, but averaged 17 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists.
LaMelo was considered a top pick going into the draft because he’s a great player, plus he’s had professional experience from a young age. He was drafted third overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020 NBA Draft. Him and his brother Lonzo became the first set of brothers to be drafted both in the Top 3. He made his debut on December 23rd, but went scoreless in the 16 minutes he played. After this poor performance Melo rose to the occasion and scored 13 points against the OKC Thunder. LaMelo had the privilege to finally come head to head with his brother Lonzo. The Hornets vs. the Pelicans and this something all NBA fans have been waiting for. Believe it or not LaMelo completely outscored his brother scoring 12 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists playing only 26 minutes, while Lonzo scored 5 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 37 minutes.
So why isn’t LaMelo starting? The Hornets are a team full of guards before they drafted him, so now he falls behind Graham and Rozier, who are solid guards. The thing is when LaMelo and Bridges are on the court the offensive ratings jump from 88.7 to 103.8. Ball has been the difference maker for the Hornets and maybe the head coach just doesn’t see it yet because of his age. But, I mean if the numbers show it, then why not take the chance? The Hornets have constantly been at the bottom of the pack since Michael Jordan came into a leadership position, and they now have a player who could potentially change things around for the franchise, so I hope they don’t mess up this once in a lifetime opportunity. Let LaMelo play!
When it comes to the Ball Brothers, Lavar claimed that LaMelo would be the best out of the three, but many people didn’t believe it, especially coming out of his mouth, but he may have been right. Lonzo had his moments to shine in high school, and his time at UCLA, but hasn’t performed to his high standards since being in the NBA. LiAngelo had his moments, but just wasn’t as good, plus since he got caught shoplifting in China and suspended indefinitely from UCLA, no one wants to give him another chance. He went undrafted, then got signed to the G League as a practice player, signed a training camp contract with the Pistons, but was waived without playing in any games.
At the moment LaMelo is the only one showcasing his talents that his dad has been hyping up since a boy. He became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, and in the first few games he’s averaging 12.6 points, while shooting 42% from the field, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Although he is a point guard, he’s 6’8, and has been grabbing tons of boards for the Hornets as they have been playing without a big man. There’s not many guards grabbing boards like he is, especially at only 19 years old.
His minutes seem to be increasing by the game, but I say the head coach needs to do some re-thinking and let Melo off his reigns and let him do what he does best. This is only the beginning and I’m very interested to see how good of a player LaMelo Ball will become in the NBA. Who do you think is the better Ball Brother? Lonzo, LiAngelo, or LaMelo? Let us know in the comments below.