Near the end of March, the Charlotte Hornets were in Los Angeles taking on the Clippers and LaMelo Ball was clearly standing out as the NBA Rookie of the Year favorite, but he took a hard fall and seemed to be in some pain stemming from a right wrist injury. Later on, it was declared that Ball had suffered a fractured bone in his right wrist and was presumably out for the year.
While initial reports were not good for the rookie phenom, Ball and the Hornets staff did not rule him out for the year just yet and continued their evaluations and rehab process with him to potentially get him back sooner than initially thought.
Now, after missing 21 total games and about six total weeks of action, LaMelo Ball returned to the court last night against the Detroit Pistons and looked like he was never gone! Ball scored 11 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 8 assists and also ended up with 2 blocks and a steal in the Hornets victory!
With the potential Rookie of the Year healthy again and being the all-around threat he was earlier in the year, not only do the Hornets have their starting point guard back, but they have one of their key talents on the court as they prepare for the playoffs.
LaMelo Ball’s return not only has a big impact on the Hornets and their chances of being successful in the postseason, but his return definitely shakes some things up in the Eastern Conference playoff picture as well. With that said, let’s take a look at three ways Ball’s return changes the NBA playoff race in the Eastern Conference.