Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball deserves the Rookie of the Year Award despite his missed injury time because he’s been that good.
The Rookie of the Year Award should go to LaMelo Ball, plain and simple.
The Charlotte Hornets guard has been a revelation in Year 1. While there are others in contention, worthy choices like Anthony Edwards, the clear-cut best of the bunch is Ball.
If the voters take these three things into account, they’ll get it right.
3. Missed games shouldn’t matter in this case
Ball has had an excellent debut season. The only real knock against him? He missed 21 games because of a fractured wrist. That’s not a good enough reason to deny him the Rookie of the Year.
What he did before the injury had him at the front of the class. The injury didn’t change that. It really just denied him the chance to run away with the award even more.
The fact that he even came back this season should be a plus in his column. He wasn’t supposed to return from that injury. Instead, he healed up and made sure he was there to finish out the season with his team. Since returning, he’s picked up right where he left off.
There are precedents for docking players for missing time, but they don’t apply here. Zion Williamson only played in 24 games when he missed out on winning Rookie of the Year despite being the “best” of the rookies in 2019-20. The same thing happened to Joel Embiid, who managed 31 games in 2016-17.
The difference? Ball has played in 47 games. He’ll get to 50 before the end of the season, and in a shortened 72-game season, that’s more than enough to prove his case.