LaMelo Ball Praised By Mavericks Coach Jason Kidd | Charlotte Observer

By Matt L. Stephens

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, right, throws a shuffle pass to a teammate as Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith, left, looks on during their preseason game Wednesday at Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, right, throws a shuffle pass to a teammate as Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith, left, looks on during their preseason game Wednesday at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Jeff Siner [email protected]

It hasn’t been that long since Jason Kidd was considered one of the NBA’s great point guards, and now as a head coach, he’s able to watch other guards with a certain appreciation.

That includes LaMelo Ball.

Kidd, in his first season as the Dallas Mavericks head coach, was asked prior to Wednesday night’s game in Charlotte about whether he saw any similarities between his game and that of Ball, the Hornets’ young star.

“I think he has fun when he plays. He’s very creative, he understands what it means to win,” Kidd said. “And so, being a taller guard, with the pace that he plays with, I mean, I just wish I was that tall. He makes the game easy. He’s exciting to watch.

“As a head coach or a fan, you’re going to watch him play cause he’s going to do something special out there that nobody else can, so it’s exciting to see and it’s great for the league.”

Kidd was drafted second overall by the Mavericks in 1994; Ball third by the Hornets in 2020. Kidd was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1995; Ball won it this past season. Kidd had a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Ball? Time will tell.

Kidd’s praise for Ball continued:

“(He’s) very creative in his own right — he’s a very good artist. He understands how to play the game at a very high level,” Kidd said. “He puts a lot of pressure on defenses, being able to get back and transition defense, he’s one that can throw the touchdown pass with the rest of them, and so this is a great challenge for us defensively. Ball can cause a lot of problems on the defensive end – deflections, he steals, he has a nose for the ball. He has a very high IQ, so we have to take care of the ball because it can cause chaos on the offensive end with deflections and steals. So, this is a good test on both sides of the ball for us.”

As far as that test goes, Kidd’s Mavericks aced it, beating the Hornets 127-59 in Charlotte’s preseason finale. Ball played just 11 minutes (4 points, 2 rebounds and an assist), Miles Bridges played 12 and Mason Plumlee 24. The Hornets’ two other regular starters, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward, did not play.

Source : https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/charlotte-hornets/article254999282.html

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