NBA Weekly #4: LaMelo Ball receives rave reviews as a starter

NBA Weekly #4: LaMelo Ball receives rave reviews as a starter

Another week, another report focusing on LaMelo Ball thriving as a starter in Charlotte and Zach LaVine making his case as a legit superstar destroying opponents defenses in the process.

Hornets insert LaMelo Ball in the starting lineup

LaMelo Ball surrounded by much skepticism, when he entered the league, as the Charlotte Hornest selected the young guard as the third overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Ball started slow, however since he was inserted to the starting lineup, he became even better. Despite the return of Terry Rozier from injury, Ball remained in the starting lineup as Devonte Graham remained also sidelined with an injury.

The rookie thrived playing alongside a shot-maker like Terry Rozier, who continue to be the scoring force of the Hornets’ perimeter. Ball has been the Hornets’ starting guard in the last nine games, in which they have a 5-4 record.

Ball averages 19.3 points per game shooting nearly 42-percent from deep and 43.6-percent from the field. He also dishes 6.3 assists and grabs 6.4 rebounds per contest.

The Hornets are conceding 110.6 points per 100 possessions with Ball on the floor, which among the best in the team. During these nine games span, the Hornets are on a plus-2.7 net rating in Ball’s 307 minutes. The rookie is receiving more minutes than Gordon Hayward, who’s also playing tremendously during those nine games.

Both Hayward and Ball share the floor for the most minutes so far in February with Hornets pounding opponents by a plus-8.9,scoring 119.7 points per 100 possessions.

Already in his first big task of his rookie season, Ball shows that could be a star in the future being dictating the tempo of a potential playoff team.

Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller are certainly helping and leading the team as veterans, however Ball is offering a higher upside to James Borrego’s team, especially when we have the next few years in mind.

Zach LaVine destroys defenses and leads the Bulls to the play-in tournament

Zach LaVine has made great strides in the last two seasons becoming a genuine scoring superstar for the Chicago Bulls, while he improved his liabilities in the other end becoming at least a passable defender.

However, his strong suit is of course his nuclear offensive repertoire. The UCLA product is ranked 7th in scoring among all players averaging 28.9 points per game this season leading the Bulls to a respectable 13-16 record.

He has the 5th best field goal percentage(51.8-percent on 19 attempts) among guards with only Jaylen Brown(50.6-percent on 19 attempts) being close as a high usage guard with more than 25 games under his belt this season.

The Bulls are just scoring something more than 103 points per 100 possessions when LaVine is resting. They are registering 112.3 points per 100 possessions, when LaVine is on the floor.

As we can see in his stats, LaVine is getting more effective in scoring having a 64.7-percent in TS% and 60-percent in EFG%. He’s ranked as the10th best among guards getting in the free-throw line shooting also a tremendous 42.9-percent in 8.2 attempts from deep.

The explosive guard is also posting career-highs in rebounds and assists being the most effective offensive dynamo of a really tough but mediocre-talent-wise- Bulls’ team. The 25-years-old guard has one more year in his 4-years $78M contract he signed back in 2018.

Billy Donovan is still trying to find the best combination for his team in the first season in Chicago’s bench, but LaVine seems to work best with Thomas Satorasky as his back-court partner instead of Coby White.

The MVP Race

The MVP race remains a tricky one this season with a different candidate making his case every week. During the past week, Joel Embiid made tremendous performances putting up the numbers for the Sixers.

The big from Cameroon helped his team overcome the slumping Rockets, and he offered us a masterpiece of a performance against the Bulls.

According to NBA.com, LeBron James is still the favorite to win the award this season. James entered the 35,000 club joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. He is the fastest to ever reach such milestone.

The Lakers will not have Anthony Davis at their disposal for at least the next one and a half month, so James will have to take over for Frank Vogel’s team to remain close to the top of the West.

Damian Lillard could be among the player with a strong consideration for the MVP, if the Blazers continue to win. Lillard has been on fire in the last eight games leading the Blazers to a 6-2 record.

The Blazers’ superstar puts up 32.2 points being 4th in scoring and 4th (9.5) in assists during that span. He is shooting 42.6-percent from the field and an impressive 40.2-percent in 12.4 attempts per contest from deep.

The Blazers’ superstar was at his best during clutch time shooting a gargantuan 64-percent from the field and a suburb 83-percent from three in five games that end up being close in the last five minutes of regulation during that 9-game span. The Blazers went to win 4 out of those 5 games

Lillard’s exclusion from the All-Star Game’s starting lineup was a bit of surprise, however the fans’ voting is a crucial part of the process. So, it’s understandable why Luka Doncic won the starter’s place over the Portland’s guard.

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