Brothers have played against one another or on the same team numerous times over the years in professional basketball, but NBA history will be made Friday when Charlotte visits New Orleans as it will be the first time brothers picked in the Top 5 of the draft face off in Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball against the Pelicans' Lonzo Ball. The Pelicans are 6.5-point favorites on the William Hill NBA odds but may be without guard JJ Redick due to an ankle injury.
Lonzo played one year at UCLA and was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was dealt to the Pelicans in the summer of 2019 in the Anthony Davis deal. This season, Lonzo is averaging 13.4 points, 4.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. All very solid. He's still not a great shooter, hitting only 40.6 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from deep.
The Pels and Lonzo didn't come to an agreement to extend his rookie contract by the December deadline so he will be a restricted free agent next summer – meaning New Orleans could match any offer.
New Orleans probably will not have Redick for this one as he injured an ankle in Wednesday's 111-110 home loss to Oklahoma City and wasn't able to practice on Thursday. Redick used to be one of the NBA's best three-point shooters but isn't doing much this year under first-year Pels coach Stan Van Gundy, averaging only 6.1 points and hitting 24.3 percent from deep in about 21 minutes a night.
LaMelo didn't play collegiate ball, instead professionally overseas. He was the third overall pick in the 2020 draft by Charlotte and is averaging 11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists – LaMelo is coming off the bench with the Hornets starting Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier ahead of him. The 19-year-old LaMelo has come fairly close to a triple-double a couple of times.
He is the +400 co-second favorite at William Hill Sportsbook to win NBA Rookie of the Year, behind Golden State's James Wiseman (+250), who was the No. 2 pick. Minnesota's Anthony Edwards, who went No. 1, is also +400.
Lonzo and LaMelo were teammates for one season at Chino Hills High School in California during Lonzo's senior year and LaMelo's freshman year. Chino Hills went 35-0 and won the 2016 state title. Current Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak was responsible for selecting both as he previously held that role with the Lakers.
William Hill Sportsbook has numerous player props available for the Ball brothers tonight. For example, Lonzo getting a double-double is +375 with no at -300. His Over/Under for total points is 12.5. There is no prop on LaVar Ball being in attendance, thankfully.
Dating to last season, Charlotte is an excellent 10-2-1 against the spread in its past 13 as an underdog. New Orleans is 0-4 ATS in its past four as a home favorite.
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