Today has not been the best day for the National Basketball Association. This morning, the Phoenix Suns learned that their star point guard Chris Paul would be out indefinitely after testing positive for COVID-19. Hours later, the Los Angeles Clippers informed their fans that Kawhi Leonard would not play in tonight's playoff matchup against the Utah Jazz. Not long thereafter, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that the Clippers fear Leonard may have torn his ACL. If true, Leonard would miss the remainder of the playoffs and possibly the beginning of the next season.
In the midst of all the bad that has taken place today, NBA insiders have offered a bit of good news. Charlotte Hornets Point Guard LaMelo Ball is expected to take home the 2021 Rookie of the Year Award. Ball lived up to expectations by average 16 points, six rebounds and six assists this season. He also helped guide the young team to a berth in the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament. Unfortunately, the Hornets fell short to the Indiana Pacers and were knocked out of playoff contention in May.
While many fans were happy to see Ball take home the award, some argued that Anthony Edwards should have won the award. Edwards averaged three more points per game than Ball, but he contributed fewer assists and grabbed fewer rebounds per game. With that said, Ball's biggest critics point to his injury history as the primary reason why Edwards should win the award. The Charlotte Hornets point guard missed more than 20 games this season due to injury while Edwards played in all 72 games.
Both Edwards and Ball will have an opportunity to prove that they are the best player in the draft class next season. Edwards will look to add a much-needed jolt to the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. Meanwhile, Ball, Davante Graham and company will look to carry the Hornets past the play-in tournament and into the playoffs for the first time in five years.