Despite his prodigious basketball mind and his role as an analyst at TNT, Draymond Green was skeptical about how good LaMelo Ball really was until his mother convinced him. Mary Babers-Green texted her son repeatedly to try to convince him that Ball was the real deal, but partially because of his commitment to his rookie, James Wiseman, and his feeling that Ball’s stats were empty, Green denied it.
But Green, as he said during a cameo on ESPN’s First Take, committed to watching him more often, and eventually came around:
“My mom would call me earlier in the year [and say], ‘LaMelo is good.’ And I’m like, “Ah, ma. He’s putting up stats but a lot of people put up stats. I’m not sure I believe the stats.’ I hadn’t really watched him play.
“And as I’ve watched him play … my goodness. I texted my mom not long ago. I said, ‘Mom. You were right. LaMelo is problem.’ I love his game. He’s super fast. I had no clue he’s fast and downhill like that.
Still, Green believes in Wiseman just as much, if not more.
“I’m riding with mine ’til the death. I gotta roll with James,” Green said. “And I think as James gets back out there over the course of the next half of the season, he’ll get back to the top of that rookie ladder like he was at the beginning.”
Because he’s played so many more minutes, been massively productive, and is leading Charlotte to wins, Ball is the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year, but getting the stamp of approval from a brilliant player like Green is big, even if Green is still pining for his young big man.