‘He’s ahead of his time’

LaMelo Ball’s rookie season featured a host of players and coaches coming away impressed with the guard in his inaugural NBA season. Whether it was Donovan Mitchell, Draymond Green, Rick Carlisle or Scott Brooks, Ball had seemingly everyone he played walking away from their meeting with high praise.

Blazers guard C.J. McCollum was the latest to offer his praise of the youngest Ball brother. Appearing on “Full Bodied” for Bleacher Report with Channing Frye, McCollum compared NBA players, including Ball, to wine while also giving high praise to Ball in the process (h/t FadeAway World).

“The ceiling is very, very high. A lot of upside…The game, it leaves you like ‘Wow.’ He’s ahead of his time from a vision standpoint. When (Michael Jordan) is saying he’s better than we thought, you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.”

Ball had one of his best games against the Blazers in Portland this season. In the middle of a West Coast road trip just prior to the All-Star break, Ball had perhaps the best stretch of games of his rookie season, culminating in 30 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals, one of just two 30-point games from Ball on the year.

Following the game, he received praise – and permission to use the Melo nickname – from Carmelo Anthony.

“I think LaMelo is somebody who’s going to be in this game for a long time, so the name Melo, you guys might as well continue using that. I don’t get into that, though. For me, it’s a respect thing. It’s an honor for him to have that name, for him to embrace it, for him to do the celebration. It’s an honor; it’s a blessing. It’s a respect thing for me. I embrace him.”

Considering the trophies Ball has racked up in the wake of his season, including the league’s Rookie of the Year award, the future looks exceedingly bright.


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