WATCH: LaMelo Ball dazzles as a passer in preseason opener with Hornets despite shooting struggles


LaMelo Ball entered the NBA with a reputation similar to his older brother Lonzo’s. He is already a transcendent passer at the age of 19, but the rest of his offensive game needs work. Both were true in his preseason opener against the Toronto Raptors, as Ball missed all eight of his shot attempts, five from the field and three from the line, but made up for it with some of the most dazzling passes you’ll ever see out of a rookie. 

The play of the night was a behind-the-back gem in transition that led to two easy Miles Bridges points.

The difference between LaMelo and Lonzo at this stage in their careers, though, is that Lonzo’s best passing work comes almost exclusively in transition, whereas LaMelo is a more advanced half-court creator, using his superior size and finishing ability to draw defenders away from teammates. 

That combination is what made him the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. The half-court passing has more functional utility, but his “blink-and-you’ll miss them” outlet passes practically create free points. 

The preseason qualifier needs to be attached. It’s going to be far harder for Ball to do this when offenses play him as a passer instead of a scorer. As Lonzo has learned, it’s much harder to set up teammates when you’re going scoreless yourself. But LaMelo’s vision and creativity at his age is tantalizing. He has the potential to become the best passer in the NBA. He’ll just need to develop the rest of his game to take advantage of that. 


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