LaMelo Ball was one of the most polarizing prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft class. He was a dynamic, but inefficient scorer. His play-making skills were dazzling, but the turnover numbers were troubling. Many scouts thought his shot might have to be rebuilt and his lack of defensive intensity would be a problem at the NBA.
However, Ball has been sensational early on in his rookie season and has caught the attention of Steph Curry.
"He's playing amazing," Curry told reporters Tuesday. "There was a lot of talk about what he could show his rookie year. He's surprising a lot of people."
Through 28 games, Ball is averaging 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from 3-point range.
The Hornets guard has been ever better since being inserted into the starting lineup, averaging 20.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists in eight games as a starter.
Last week, Ball ripped the Houston Rockets for 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds while making seven 3-pointers. In lighting up the Rockets, Ball became the third rookie to make seven 3-pointers in a game, joining Curry and Jason Kidd. He also joined LeBron James and Luka Doncic as the only players 19 or younger to record multiple games of 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20 points, dish out 10 assists and hit five 3-pointers.
Many believed Ball had the talent to be a star, but the fact that he's been this good early on is surprising.
The Warriors had the opportunity to select Ball, but instead chose center James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick. Wiseman has been solid early on, but it's clear the 19-year-old has a lot of growing to do if he is to become the transcendent center the Warriors believe he can be.
Ball, Wiseman and Anthony Edwards will forever be linked together as the top three picks in the 2020 draft. They will develop on different trajectories and it will take years to decide whether the Warriors made the right call in selecting Wiseman over Ball.
Curry and the Warriors are expected to get their first look at Ball on Saturday when Golden State visits Charlotte. However, the Hornets currently are dealing with COVID protocol issues, so the game's official status is up in the air.
Whenever Curry and Ball do face-off, there's no doubt the young rookie will be out to show the Warriors they should have paired him with the two-time MVP when given the chance.