LaMelo Ball went to the line three times on Monday night, finishing the game against his brother with 18 points on 33% shooting.
It was a frustrating night for Ball and the Hornets, to say the least, and that frustration boiled over in the fourth quarter when Melo trolled the officials in the middle of the game:
“Imma be a ref when I’m done hooping and show y’all how to ref.”
Ball, 20, was picked 3rd in the 2020 NBA Draft, and he's been living up to the hype so far. Besides encouraging play from him so far, he's got bold ambitions for his team and seeds ready to put the burden of leadership on his shoulders.
"I think everybody over here knows what type of team we can be. I definitely feel like we can be that kind of caliber team when everybody is back right. "You want to go in every year just thinking championship. If not, why are you playing, what are you even doing? So championship, that’s the mindset you better have," he said during his Rookie campaign.
Charlotte hasn't been the most successful team over the years, and that's especially true for their Bobcat days of the early 2010s.
But with Melo, they might have their first real franchise centerpiece in years. This season, the Hornets have some talent around him, too, in guys like Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, and Miles Bridges.
For the first time, Charlotte is looking to be like a team headed in the right direction and, at 13-10 on the season, they've got a record that reflects that.
“I do know Michael is happy,” said team GM Mitch Kupchak, via NBA.com. “I think he likes the direction we’re going.”
Despite moments of frustration, LaMelo continues to show flashes of stardom and it should be an encouraging sign for Hornets fans.
Let's just hope he learns to control his anger around the refs a bit, or they could start biting back...