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#pounditSaturday, September 24, 2022

LaMelo Ball

Bismack Biyombo responds to viral video of supposed altercation with LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball Bismack Biyombo

Bismack Biyombo is setting the record straight about an incident that caught some attention after Friday’s game.

Following the Charlotte Hornets’ 118-110 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball was high-fiving teammates when he appeared to get into a physical exchange with Biyombo. Take a look:

The 19-year-old Ball finished one assist shy of a triple-double. Toward the end of the game, he appeared to be stat-chasing. Many believed that Biyombo may have been upset with his teammate about that.

Biyombo explained the incident on Monday, saying there was nothing to it.

“I heard about that video. We actually laughed about it,” Biyombo said, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “He’s my little brother. We have fun.

“We were talking like, ‘We’ve got to stop playing [around]. We’re playing too much. Taking it a little too far.'”

Biyombo, 28, is in his seventh season with Charlotte, spanning two separate stints. That makes him one of the longest-tenured players on the roster and something of a mentor figure.

As for Ball, we know that he likes to goof around a bit. His Hornets teammates are more than happy to give it right back to him though.

LaMelo Ball drawing rave reviews ahead of rookie season

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is hoping to make a significant impact in his rookie season with the Charlotte Hornets, and it sounds like the team is expecting him to do just that based on what he has shown in training camp.

In advance of Charlotte’s season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, a Hornets source told ESPN’s Jordan Schultz that he has been blown away by Ball’s court awareness. The source also raved about the way the 19-year-old has carried himself.

The “baggage” that was referred to probably has more to do with LaMelo’s father LaVar, who is extremely outspoken and fancies himself a reality TV star. The elder Ball recently unloaded on the Detroit Pistons for releasing his other son LiAngelo.

LaMelo is a raw prospect, which was to be expected considering he is just 19 and played overseas before he was drafted. His shooting was erratic during the preseason, but teammates and head coach James Borrego have gushed about Ball’s playmaking ability.

While there will be some growing pains with Ball, the Hornets clearly think he can be special. One of Ball’s veteran teammates recently roasted him over his age, but LaMelo is going to be given plenty of opportunities to show what he can do as a rookie.

Cody Zeller has funny roast of new teammate LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball

Cody Zeller is already getting a head start on the rookie hazing.

On Sunday, the Charlotte Hornets big man tweeted a funny roast of new teammate LaMelo Ball, who was born in 2001. Zeller joked that someone that young was probably only about 12 years old and that he had to double-check if he signed up for the 6th grade basketball team.

Hornets second-round pick Vernon Carey Jr. was also born in 2001, so he caught a stray here from Zeller as well. Ball is younger than Carey by several months though, making him the youngest player currently on the team.

Zeller was born in 1992 and entered the league in 2013 — when Ball was actually 12. Thus, you can see why he might feel a bit ancient. Fortunately for Ball, he is getting some love from a more friendly veteran on the team.

Malik Monk willing to give up his jersey number to LaMelo Ball?

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball is trying to finesse Malik Monk for his jersey number, and Monk seems receptive.

Ball wears jersey No. 1, but Monk has worn that number during his three seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. That presented a conflict for LaMelo, who was selected third overall by the Hornets in Wednesday’s NBA Draft.

Lonzo, who is LaMelo’s oldest brother, tried to get the ball rolling on behalf of LaMelo. He tweeted Monk suggesting the former Kentucky star might want to switch back to No. 5, which is what the guard wore in college.

Monk responded on Friday by saying he couldn’t do a switch.

However, things changed a day later.

Nic Batum, who wore No. 5 in Charlotte, was waived by the Hornets via the stretch provision on Saturday to make room for Gordon Hayward’s contract. After that news came out, Monk wrote back to Lonzo and said he was willing to work something out for the jersey number swap.

Now everyone can be happy. Monk can get his college number back, while LaMelo can get his No. 1.

A jersey number may not seem like much of a big deal, but it’s important in marketing for the Balls, who are fairly tied to their numbers.

Now that the number issue appears to be worked out, we need LaVar and Michael Jordan to play 1-on-1 next.

LaMelo Ball has funny response to idea of LaVar-Michael Jordan 1-on-1

LaMelo Ball

After years of LaVar Ball calling out Michael Jordan, his son LaMelo now ironically plays for the team Jordan owns, forcing LaMelo to be diplomatic.

The 19-year-old star had his introductory press conference on Friday after being selected by Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. LaMelo was asked about the possibility of the much-awaited LaVar-Jordan 1-on-1 coming to fruition.

“I don’t think it’s gonna happen,” said LaMelo. “And I think we know how it would turn out to be honest. I don’t really know too much. But I mean, that is my pops and my boss. So I’m on both sides now, you feel me?”

LaVar rose to prominence for his outlandish boasts, perhaps most notably that he could beat Jordan 1-on-1. He even got Jordan to respond to him.

As for LaMelo, he was also once roped into his father’s claims about Jordan. Now that LaMelo plays for Jordan’s team though, it’s a much more delicate balancing act (even if he sounds convinced Jordan would win pretty easily).

Lonzo Ball was really tucked away at LaMelo Ball’s draft party

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball was not at all trying to take away the spotlight at his brother’s draft party.

LaMelo Ball was taken No. 3 overall by the Charlotte Hornets during Wednesday’s NBA Draft. He and his family had people over for a draft party that was shown on TV. While LaMelo was surrounded on his couch by his parents, brother Lonzo was shown standing guard in the corner.

Lonzo already has a big name and was the No. 2 overall pick by the Lakers in the 2017 draft. He was traded to the Pelicans last year and developed nicely with him. Three years later, his brother became the No. 3 pick. That’s a pretty nice success for his family and proves father LaVar was not too crazy when he predicted big things for his sons.

The Balls become the first ever siblings to be drafted in the top three picks.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via cc-by 2.0

Report: Michael Jordan has given LaMelo Ball ‘stamp of approval’

Michael Jordan

There appears to be increasing reason to think the Charlotte Hornets may be zeroing in on LaMelo Ball ahead of Wednesday’s NBA Draft.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor in his latest mock draft, Hornets owner Michael Jordan has given the front office his “stamp of approval” to allow them to select Ball. It remains possible that the Hornets may move up to No. 1 to select James Wiseman, but Ball is clearly in play at No. 3.

Obviously, Jordan’s approval is big for a lot of reasons. He’s not just the owner, but he’s also an icon. It’s a big endorsement for Ball.

There’s a bit of history between Jordan and Ball’s father. That said, Jordan is smart enough to not let something like that dissuade him from picking Ball if he really believes doing so would change the course of the franchise.

Michael Jordan wants to draft LaMelo Ball?

Michael Jordan

LaMelo Ball may have one heck of a believer ahead of this week’s NBA Draft.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported Tuesday that there are people within the Charlotte Hornets front office, possibly even owner Michael Jordan himself, who want Ball. The Hornets hold the No. 3 overall pick.

The 19-year-old Ball, a 6-foot-7 point guard, is probably the best-known prospect of the entire 2020 draft class. That said, Charlotte’s two leading scorers last season were a pair of point guards in Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier. But they would still be hard-pressed to pass on Ball if he is available when they are on the clock.

There is no guarantee of that though, as Ball could fit well in Minnesota or Golden State, the two teams with the picks ahead of the Hornets. But Jordan’s supposed interest in Ball is certainly something, especially considering his past beef with Ball’s father.

LaMelo Ball had private workout with Timberwolves

LaMelo Ball

The Minnesota Timberwolves are picking first in next week’s NBA draft, and they met with one of the top contenders for the pick.

According to Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony, Ball conducted a private workout for the Timberwolves on Wednesday in Southern California, which is where Ball is from.

Givony says this was Ball’s first private workout for a team. He says he was told Ball shot the ball well.

Talk surrounding the draft, which takes place on Nov. 18, is heating up. Givony has previously said it’s looking like Ball will go No. 1. The Golden State Warriors have the No. 2 pick, and there has been some chatter about whom they will take.

Will LaMelo end up in Minnesota? It’s not on his dad’s preferred list, but it would be hard to argue with going No. 1.

LaMelo is a 6-foot-7 point guard. The 19-year-old was once set to go to UCLA, but never ended up playing in college.

Report: NBA front offices expect LaMelo Ball to go No. 1 overall

LaMelo Ball

There appears to be growing consensus around who will be the No. 1 pick in next week’s NBA Draft.

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the majority of NBA front offices believe LaMelo Ball will be selected first overall in the draft. There is still some question whether the Minnesota Timberwolves will make the pick, or whether another team will trade up to take Ball.

The Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and Oklahoma City Thunder have been named by NBA executives as teams that might be willing to trade up to No. 1 to select Ball.

For all the chatter about a mediocre pre-draft process, Ball seems entrenched at the top of the draft. This makes it sound like the only question is which team he’ll go to, not which pick. The Timberwolves have made no secret of the fact that they’re open to a trade. For now, though, nothing appears close.