I can’t yet decide if LaMelo Ball is a winning NBA player. I struggle with the same question regarding the Hawks’ Trae Young. They’re similar players, with Ball, generally speaking, just being the taller and probably slightly worse version.
What’s interesting is that while Young came into the league with a reputation as a deadly 3-point shooter, Ball’s shooting was supposed a major question mark.
So far, the opposite has been true of both.
Young, while being an elite passer with a masterful floater and midrange precision, has actually struggled pretty glaringly as a 3-point shooter. He’s been 34% percent or worse in three of his first five NBA seasons; this season he’s at 28%.
Ball, meanwhile, has connected on 39% and 38% of his 3s over his last two seasons, respectively, for the Hornets. Last year was a small sample, but he’s doing it again this season at over 39%, a number that would be much higher if not for his slow start.
Over his last eight games, Ball is shooting 45% from deep on over nine attempts a night. In Charlotte’s wild OT win over the Celtics on Monday, he finished with 36 points and eight assists on 5-of-11 from deep. That followed his 34-point showing against the Knicks on Saturday in which he hit 8-of-13 triples. That performance came off his 37 points against Milwaukee the night before.
All told, Ball, on high efficiency, has scored at least 25 points in eight straight games. He’s hit the 30-point mark in six of those. The problem is, the Hornets are 2-6 over that stretch, and one of those wins was against the Wizards, which almost doesn’t count. Entering Monday, the Hornets had lost Ball’s minutes by a combined 95 points, which ranked as the 463rd worst mark among 476 players this season.
Even in the win over Boston, Ball was only plus-3, while Brandon Miller and Gordon Hayward, with almost identical minute totals, were plus-22 and plus-20, respectively.
Plus-minus numbers are more a team stat than a person one, but they should, over a large enough sample, point you in the direction of…
Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/lamelo-ball-continues-his-scoring-tear-as-hornets-beat-celtics-but-is-he-a-winning-player/
Author : Brad Botkin
Publish date : 2023-11-21 13:44:50
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