Charlotte Hornets rookie guard LaMelo Ball wasted no time making his mark on the NBA, becoming the youngest player to record a triple-double in NBA history.
Ball, 19, had 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists as the Hornets defeated the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night 113-105.
“A 19-year-old rookie does not look like this,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “This is rare, what you’re seeing.”
Ball’s performance comes on the heels of another game where he nearly recorded a triple-double, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in a victory over his brother Lonzo Ball and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The rookie says he hasn’t processed the accomplishment just yet.
“I live my life, and I know what I’m capable of, so stuff like this doesn’t move me like that,” Ball said. “I know that’s supposed to happen.”
Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz was the youngest to have scored triple-double by 177 days.
Trae Young of the Hawks was also impressed by Ball’s performance.
“He’s a tall PG who can pass, can rebound, and he’s a smart player,” said Atlanta’s Trae Young. “Things are going to become even easier for him in this league as he plays more and more games.”
Ball tied his highest-scoring night on 9-of-13 shooting from the field en route to handing Atlanta their fourth straight loss.
He became only the fifth rookie in league history to record a triple-double, and the first Hornets player accomplish the feat coming off the bench.
Hornets head coach James Borrego said he loves Ball’s spirit and energy, but he is more impressed by the young man’s poise and confidence.
“He’s not rattled by the moment. It’s like he’s been doing this for a number of years,” Borrego said of Ball, who played overseas before becoming the third pick in the NBA draft.
Ball displayed sharp passing, which included a perfect behind-the-back pass to set up P.J. Washington for a three-pointer.
“It’s tough because you don’t know when it’s coming. He might throw it behind his head, behind his back, or straight to you,” joked Washington, who had 22 points and was on the receiving end of several of Ball’s passes. “You have to be active and aware when he has the ball. It’s always fun playing with a guy like that.”
LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets will host the New York Knicks at home on Monday night.