LaMelo Ball is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but there are a few obstacles in front of him. Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham have been the starters in all three of the Hornets’ preseason games over LaMelo. So it is unclear if he’s going to get enough playing time to put up the gaudy numbers Rookie of the Year voters usually go for.

Then there’s Ball’s competition: Anthony Edwards has struggled, James Wiseman hasn’t played yet, and not many other players have really stood out, but Obi Toppin may have an inside track to win the award.

On the daily Locked On Hornets podcast, hosts Walker Mehl and Nata Edwards discuss LaMelo Ball’s chances to win Rookie of the Year and the biggest threats against him:

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Walker Mehl: Do you think LaMelo Ball should be the favorite to win Rookie of the Year this season?

Nata Edwards: I hate to say this, and this is coming from a guy that really likes him: No. Unfortunately for LaMelo, he is in a situation where you can tell that most of the national media has not watched the Charlotte Hornets in the last little bit. For better or for worse, I think LaMelo would have to be significantly better than either Terry Rozier or Devonte’ Graham, and they both have skills right now that LaMelo doesn’t and that’s a perimeter jump shot.

Until LaMelo Ball develops something to where he’s a consistent threat. He’s not going to fight, he’s not going to make his way into the lineup because, unfortunately, what the Hornets do doesn’t work with him starting unless there’s an injury. Even in that case, I don’t necessarily see him starting this early.

If you told me that he basically wins Rookie of the Year because he just explodes in the second half of the season, then yeah, I can see it. For right now, he’s got a lot of catching up to do. All these rookies necessarily do and for me because the Knicks are just so bad I can see Obi Toppin running away with this.