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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks speaks to media during a NBL media opportunity at The Blackman on August 22, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Written by Jarell D. Contact at jarellevandawson@gmail.com

The ‘Ball Era’ has officially begun in the Queen City. The Charlotte Hornets’ 3rd overall pick, Lamelo Ball, debuted at the Spectrum Center last night in a losing effort to the Toronto Raptors, 111-100. The game was the first of two meetings in three nights between the ball clubs as the Hornets will host the Raptors on Monday night at the Hive. The teams took the floor with no crowd in attendance due to COVID-19 public health protocols set forth by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

In Ball’s highly anticipated NBA debut, the California native finished with 0 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 astounding assists. There was the old razzle-dazzle and a glimpse of what could be a very exciting tenure in Buzz City over the next several years. While some may see Ball’s inability to score in the game as detrimental to the team, his prowess to affect the game without scoring brings a fresh dynamic to a team that is desperate for a facilitator. Former Lakers guard Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is widely considered the greatest point guard of all time due to his artistry in distributing the ball better than anyone else of his time. 14- year veteran Rajan Rondo, a pass-first point guard, has carved out an exceptional career for himself despite a career scoring average of 10 points per game. As the professional game drifts towards players spotting up for half-court 3-point shots, the Hornets have a guard who’s first instinct is to get his teammates involved. Ball sets the table, everyone else eats from it. This becomes even more important as General Manager Mitch Kupchak starts to look ahead to the 2022 free-agent market when players such as Blake Griffin and Aaron Gordon become available. Two examples of veteran players who could benefit from having a dynamic floor general such as Ball, running the offense.

The goal for the Hornets this season is to make the playoffs. One preseason game is far from indicative of showing if the team is capable of achieving such a feat. However, consistent unselfishness shown from the cornerstone of the franchise is a sign that things are moving in the right direction for a team that now appears to have found an identity on which it can rely on.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige