The LaMelo Ball Show took over the NBL in 2019-20 with the highly-rated teenager racking up highlight after highlight in his lone season Down Under.
The Rookie of the Year headlined the Next Stars program alongside New Zealand Breakers guard RJ Hampton and had fans filling up arenas around the country to get a glimpse of the future NBA star.
Ball re-wrote the NBL history books becoming the youngest player ever to record a triple-double, with a career-high 32 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds against the Cairns Taipans in November, quickly following it up with another triple-double in his next game against Hampton's Breakers, becoming just the fourth player in NBL history to record back-to-back triple-doubles.
Playing in 12 games, Ball averaged 17 points, 7.0 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game, with no shortage of eye-catching plays.
Ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, where Ball is expected to be a top 3 pick, let's take a look back at his top five plays of the season.
1. Behind-the-back dime vs. 36ers
Perhaps no play better sums up Ball's ability to adapt on the fly and create something out of nothing, than this sequence against the Adelaide 36ers.
In the first quarter of their game against the Adelaide 36ers, Ball split a pair of defenders with the behind-the-back dribble, before keeping his dribble alive and finding Josh Boone with the behind-the-back dime.
👀👀👀@MELOD1P ➡️ @The_Real_JBizzy 💪#FlyAsOne x #NBL20 pic.twitter.com/Q8pm7HJiAN- Illawarra Hawks (@IllawarraHawks) October 21, 2019
2. Air Melo vs. Breakers
Hawks vs. Breakers was must-see TV all season as Ball and Hampton squared up in a battle of the Next Stars,
After being on the receiving end of a Hampton highlight in the first half, with the Breakers guard emphatically rejecting his shot , Ball got his revenge in the fourth quarter, skying for the one-handed putback ham!
LAMELO-M-G 😱@MELOD1P with the HUGE PUTBACK 💥#ILLatNZB #NBL20 pic.twitter.com/DeIwwd3mE1- NBL (@NBL) October 24, 2019
3. Double crossover vs. Bullets
In his NBL debut against the Brisbane Bullets, Ball wasted no time showing fans the excitement he would bring to the league.
The 'ankle bully' dropped his defender Taylor Braun, not once, but twice in the same possession. First, he stopped on a dime with the behind-the-back dribble going left and hit the rinse and repeat going right. Unfortunately, Boone was unable to finish the play off the feed from Ball.
Melo proving to be a very slippery customer ⚠️@MELOD1P #BNEatILL #NBL20 pic.twitter.com/y3puZ2JWnF- NBL (@NBL) October 6, 2019
4. Melo = CLUTCH
In his biggest performance of the season, recording a 30-point triple-double, Ball also produced his biggest shot of the season.
Trailing by three points against the Cairns Taipans with time winding down, Ball let it fly from deep, burying the triple to tie it up with 5.0 seconds to go, forcing overtime.
.@MELOD1P sends us to OT!#FlyAsOne x #NBL20 pic.twitter.com/SHh0yn7jc9- Illawarra Hawks (@IllawarraHawks) November 25, 2019
The Hawks powered on in the extra session, securing a 114-106 win.
5. Coast-to-coast vs. Breakers
On his way to his second-straight triple-double, Ball had the crowd on their feet with his coast-to-coast play.
Ball nabbed the ball as the Breakers' play dissolved and put the pedal to the metal as he raced down the court, hitting his defender with a behind-the-back move, before striding into the lane and throwing it down with two hands.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a BALL game.- NBL (@NBL) November 30, 2019
LaMelo going 🆙stairs with two hands 😤#NBL20 #ILLatNZB pic.twitter.com/8HBn6hhsdi
Check out the rest of his top plays in his official NBL mixtape:
That's Ball he wrote, but gee, it was fun while it lasted.- NBL (@NBL) January 17, 2020
12 Games | 17 PPG | 7.5 RPG | 7 APG | 1.67 SPG
Thank you, @MELOD1P
🎵 @trippieredd pic.twitter.com/gFbdtOaNoY
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