- 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
LaMelo Ball is the first Top-3 pick to score 0 points in his NBA debut since Otto Porter Jr. (2013).
The only other Top-3 picks to be held scoreless in their NBA debut over the last 15 seasons are Hasheem Thabeet (2009) and Greg Oden (2008).
h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/PuOKTnu8No
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 24, 2020
Rookie of the Year Betting Favorite
NBA Rookie of the Year odds have been posted, with LaMelo as the front runner
– LaMelo Ball +450
Anthony Edwards +500
James Wiseman +550
Obi Toppin +750
Killian Hayes +800
Onyeka Okongwu +1200
Tyrese Haliburton +1200
Deni Avdija +1400
Isaac Okoro +1600
Saddiq Bey +1800 pic.twitter.com/dwfdN3inXH
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) November 19, 2020
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
Lonzo Ball had 3points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block in his regular season NBA debut for the Los Ang… https://t.co/eGi11MY7AV pic.twitter.com/yZpFGA8jyj
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) October 20, 2017
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.