3. LaMelo Ball’s lack of defensive discipline
Perhaps the weakest part of LaMelo’s game is his defensive abilities. When guarding the ball handler, he has shown flashes of being a reliable defender. However, Ball tends to be erratic defensively, which often leads to fouls.
LaMelo averaged 3.3 personal fouls per game this season (stats via Basketball Reference). Jaren Jackson Jr. led the NBA at 3.6. There is absolutely no excuse to be fouling as much as he does.
He also loves to run out of help to go for quick steals when the ball handler isn’t paying attention. When this works, it’s great. When LaMelo is overly aggressive and ends up fouling, it is extremely frustrating.
He needs to find a middle ground so that he can continue that part of his game while also staying out of foul trouble. Maturity plays a large part in breaking this habit, and LaMelo needs to do so quickly.
The Hornets cannot afford to have him in foul trouble as often as they do.
LaMelo Ball is 21 years old. There is plenty of time for him to break all of these habits and continue to grow as a player. Oftentimes fans forget how young 21 is and tend to write off players as being bad in certain areas so early in their career.
We’ve watched him improve immensely over the past three seasons, and we will continue to do so as his career moves forward.