LaMelo Ball’s Dud of a Debut Puts Him in Forgettable Company

Lamelo Ball Hornets Backdrop

  • LaMelo Ball became the fourth Top 3 pick in the last 15 years to go scoreless in his NBA debut.
  • Ball was drafted third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
  • He is currently listed as the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors.

There are NBA debuts that are unforgettable. Then there are those that we’d rather forget.

For instance, LeBron James had 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals in his highly-anticipated NBA debut. Damian Lillard also posted a double-double of 23 points and 11 assists in his first ever NBA game. But not all highly publicized rookies had such impressive starts to their NBA careers.

In 2008, top pick Greg Oden went scoreless in his NBA debut. Likewise, 2009 second overall pick Hasheen Thabeet. Otto Porter Jr., picked 3rd overall in 2013 also failed to score a single point in his first ever NBA game for the Washington Wizards. And now three’s LaMelo Ball

Rookie of the Year Betting Favorite

Ball was one of the most highly touted players in the 2020 NBA draft class. He was among three players considered for the top overall pick after skipping college to play for Australia’s top professional basketball league and winning Rookie of the Year honors there. And even if he was picked just third in the 2020 NBA Draft, oddsmakers have listed him as the current odds on favorite to win the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year award:

Because of those, his was one of this season’s rookie debut that fans and experts were looking forward to. Warriors’ number 2 overall pick James Wiseman had a very solidNBA debut with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals on 7-13 shooting in 24 minutes of action. Top pick Anthony Edwards had a decent night with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. La Melo Ball? He laid a big fat egg on opening night.

To his credit, LaMelo took just five shots and missed all. He also had just one rebound, three assists, two steals, and three turnovers. The worst part of it was that the Hornets lost 121-114 to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers as 2.5-point spread betting favorites. But then as Gordon Hayward reportedly told LaMelo after the game,” some days are diamond, some days are stone”.

Reminds Us of Lonzo

LaMelo’s debut reminds us of his big brother Lonzo’s maiden NBA game. The older Ball brother struggled in his Lakers’ debut although he had the better numbers of 3 points 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Lonzo quickly bounced back with a near triple-double outing of 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists in a win over the Phoenix Suns in his second NBA game.

Lonzo would end up having an up and down rookie season where he was never able to live up to the hype created by his father and the media. He would finish the season as a member of the All-Rookie second team but obviously, he was nowhere near Magic Johnson, the legendary rookie he was compared to during the lead-up to the NBA draft. The Lakers ended up including Lonzo in the Anthony Davis trade package.

Meanwhile, LaMelo will get his crack at redemption when the Hornets take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Hive on Saturday. The Hornets certainly hope that the Lonzo similarities will end on their opening night disappointments.

Latest posts