Hornets’ LaMelo Ball makes list of top NBA players under 25

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball is one of the NBA’s bright young stars, but where does he fall in regards to the rest of the league’s top players under the age of 25? According to a list compiled on CBS Sports, Ball is considered to be in the Top 10.

Checking in at number eight is Ball, sandwiched between two members of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Evan Mobley (9) and Darius Garland (7). Ball is the second-highest 2020 NBA Draft class member, with Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards ranked third. Concerns about Ball’s health and his effort on defense play a factor in his ranking being closer to 10 than 1.

"“Ball’s health issues were one of the many problems that plagued the Hornets last season. When he was healthy, he reached new highs in points and assists per game in his third NBA season, but only managed to suit up for 36 games. Ball undoubtedly has the talent to live up to the max extension he signed, but he’s yet to play meaningful playoff basketball as his team’s leader. He lacks discipline on the defensive end but makes up for his shortcomings by scoring, rebounding, and playmaking at such a high level. Ball simply has to stay on the court and contribute more to winning”"

The point about playing meaningful basketball as the Hornets’ leader seems harsh but it is valid. Charlotte stumbled last season in part due to Ball not being on the court for the majority of the season. If this team is going to make sizeable steps forward they are going to need Ball to play more games than he misses, in addition to continuing to be a force offensively.

It is not about talent when it comes to Ball but rather if he can live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him. The Hornets believe in him, as evidenced by the five-year $205.9 million extension they signed him to that is due to kick in next season. Living up to this contract will not be easy, but he is capable of doing so.