Ball, who was announced as a finalist for the award alongside Sacramento Kings goaltender Tyrese Haliburton and Minnesota Timberwolves goaltender Anthony Edwards last month, briefly played in Lithuania and Australia before being placed third in the 2020 Draft by the Hornets, with his potential as an NBA Player still a bit of a conundrum.
All doubts, however, were turned out to be unfounded, as Ball averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game for Charlotte this season, shooting 35.2% on a 3 point range and immediately helping to win basketball in a way that rookies rarely do.
Haliburton fell to 12th in the draft, where the Iowa State product was thankfully picked up by the Kings. He quickly proved dropping him this far was a mistake by averaging 13.0 points and 5.3 assists while shooting over 40% of the 3-point range and setting up well as a long-term fit alongside De’Aaron Fox in the Sacramento backcourt.
Edwards, on the other hand, initially struggled out of the gate after being taken first overall by the Georgia Timberwolves. But as the season wore on, Edwards – who had a penchant for colorful quotes – made significant strides forward, averaging 23.8 points per game after the all-star break and seeing his percentages. shooting soar in all areas.
This is the last of six major individual awards given out by the NBA this offseason. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has been named MVP; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named Defensive Player of the Year, while teammate Jordan Clarkson took home sixth man of the year honors; and Knicks forward Julius Randle was named Most Improved Player, while Tom Thibodeau won his second Coach of the Year award in his first season in New York.
The league has also announced its All-Defensive and All-NBA teams, only the All-Rookie teams remain to be revealed.
Like last year, the NBA rolled out awards during the playoffs, rather than having an awards show at the end of the playoffs, due to the coronavirus pandemic.