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LaMelo Ball has been the front-runner for Rookie of the Year almost since the season began, but somehow Draymond Green missed that. Luckily his mom filled him in.
It’s hard to miss just how good LaMelo Ball has been this year. His shooting has been much, much better than advertised. He’s averaged 15.8 points, 6.3 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game, on a 56.1 true shooting percentage. But I suppose if you were playing on a different team, on a different coast, in a different conference, it might be easy to overlook just how strong Ball’s rookie season has been.
Draymond Green was on ESPN’s First Take yesterday and he admitted that LaMelo hadn’t really been on his radar … until his mom pointed it out (h/t NBC Sports):
“I must be completely honest — my mom and I talk basketball all the time,” Draymond started. “I hadn’t had a chance to really see LaMelo play much. He was in Australia, and I’m not one to really follow a ton of high school kids — unless I personally know them or they’re going to Michigan State.
“My mom would call me earlier in the year [and say], ‘LaMelo is good.’ And I’m like, “Ah, ma. He’s putting up stats but a lot of people put up stats. I’m not sure I believe the stats.’ I hadn’t really watched him play.
“And as I’ve watched him play … my goodness. I texted my mom not long ago. I said, ‘Mom. You were right. LaMelo is problem.’ I love his game. He’s super fast. I had no clue he’s fast and downhill like that.
How did Draymond Green miss LaMelo Ball’s incredible rookie season?
To be fair, LaMelo Ball started the season somewhat slowly. He was 0-of-5 from the field in his season debut, with as many turnovers (3) as assists. He didn’t record a double-double until his ninth career game and he finished his first 15 games having hit just 32.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Ball was also less than spectacular in his one and only game against Draymond and the Warriors this season. On Feb. 20, he scored 7 points on 3-of-10 from the field with 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals, but also 5 turnovers. But there are more than enough positive data points at this to chalk that as up as an unusually bad game for the rookie.
The Warriors don’t have any more games scheduled against the Hornets this season so Draymond will either have to wait for a wildly unlikely NBA Finals matchup or next season to get another up-close look at Ball.