LaMelo Ball is a remarkable young NBA player who has vastly exceeded expectations in his first two season. He plays a crowd-pleasing game but he's also impossibly skilled with an off-the-charts basketball IQ. He's single-handedly made the Charlotte Hornets relevant again. But none of that will cover for the embarrassment of what happened Wednesday night.
In the second quarter of a matchup with the Orlando Magic, Ball found himself alone on a breakaway in Orlando's zone. Rather than just throw down a hard dunk or finish with a pretty layup, he attempted to go bigger. And he failed spectacularly.
LaMelo bounced the ball off the court to himself like he was in a dunk contest, then tried to finish a 180 throwdown. He aimed high looking for a glorious, SportsCenter Top 10 moment. The rim had other ideas.
Check this out:
Ouch. And he even compounded it with a stupid foul after the fact.
While even attempting that dunk was a ton of fun, the score was 43-41 in the middle of the second quarter. Maybe save that one for a blowout? I mean, I don't want to be the fun police, but if you're going to bust something like that out, you have to finish it.
Ball is only 20 years old and he'll learn from that. The guy I said was unequivocally the best player in the 2020 NBA Draft has lived up to that billing. He should have been the No. 1 pick in his class. In his second season, Ball is averaging 19.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists in 33.3 minutes per game. He's also shooting 38.4 percent from 3-point range and 90.0 percent from the free throw line.
Now he just has to work on the timing and execution of his showboating dunks.