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#pounditSaturday, May 8, 2021

LaMelo Ball downplays importance of winning Rookie of the Year

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball has his sights set on a bigger goal than winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

The Charlotte Hornets guard returned to the lineup Saturday after missing 21 games due to a right wrist fracture. Ball seemed to pick up right where he left off, posting 11 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists to help lead the Hornets to an easy victory over the Detroit Pistons.

After the game, Ball was asked if Rookie of the Year was on his mind with the regular season drawing to a close.

“Mostly winning,” the 19-year-old replied, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Definitely, it would be playoffs first. But mostly, just winning.”

Ball was widely viewed as the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year before his injury. But his six-week absence may cost him the award, especially with Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards playing extremely well lately.

Still, the Hornets are eighth in the East in a season where they were not expected to be in playoff contention. That means that Ball has a lot to be proud of in his first year even if he does not earn Rookie of the Year honors.

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