Charlotte Hornets

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball is putting his playmaking growth on full display

LaMelo Ball's role as the engine of the Charlotte Hornets offence continues to bear fruit early in the season as they moved two games clear above .500 (9-7) with an impressive 97-87 win over the Washington Wizards.

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Ball was in his bag, recording a career-high 14 assists to go with 11 points, six rebounds and two steals - his third double-digit assist game of the season. He had four such games throughout his entire rookie campaign.

While he remains one of the best players in transition, regularly lighting up the Twitter timeline with his highlight-reel alley-oops to Miles Bridges, Ball's evolution as a half-court facilitator has been impressive in his sophomore season, snaking around pick-and-rolls and more often than not, still finding an alley-oop dime in his bag.

In the clip below, he makes good use of the screen from Nick Richards and rewards his activity with the tidy lob at the rim.

He then followed it up with an emphatic alley-oop to Richards once again, who jammed it home.

It wouldn't be a LaMelo Ball passing story without a signature alley-oop to Miles Bridges.

On a night where buckets were hard to come by as the Hornets shot just 43.8 percent from the field and 32.1 percent (10-of-32) from beyond the arc, Ball's ability to generate easy offence for the Hornets in the half-court stands out even more, especially on nights where his shot isn't dropping (4-of-18 from the field, 2-of-7 from deep).

"He just finds a way to impact the game even when the shots aren't falling," Hornets head coach James Borrego said postgame.

After the Wizards led by nine in the third quarter, the Hornets reeled off a 21-2 run to end the third quarter, with Ball instrumental in the run, recording six of his 14 dimes in the period.

Ball's impact on the offence is next level.

While their defensive rating stays much the same with or without Ball on the floor, their offence is night and day, with the reigning Rookie of the Year running the show - a full 15 points per 100 possessions better.

LaMelo Ball x Charlotte Hornets On/Off numbers - 2021-22

OFF RTG DEF RTG NET RTG
ON 112.3 108.4 3.9
OFF 97.3 107.9 -10.6

As it stands, the Hornets are tenth in the NBA offensive rating this season at 109.1 and it's clear LaMelo Ball is the biggest reason why.

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