Weight: 180 pounds (82kg)
College: Illawarra Hawks (Australian League)
Standing Reach: N/A
| 17.0 PTS | 6.8 AST | 7.6 TRB | 1.6 STL | 0.1 BLK | 2.5 TOV | 37.5% FG | 25.0% 3PT |
LaMelo Ball is the ultimate crowd-pleaser with his flashy passing and willingness to score. By far, Ball’s biggest asset is his elite playmaking ability. Ball averaged 6.8 assists in the NBL this year and is known for his ability to make flashy passes that send the crowd into a frenzy. Ball also has an uncanny ability to handle the ball. He possesses great dribble moves that can shake his defender so he can get into the lane and either try scoring or kicking out to an open man on the perimeter. LaMelo is quick and agile for his height and has deep enough range to force the defence to guard him at three-point range. Ball also has the confidence on offense to fire up shots at will from anywhere in the half-court. However, while his confidence can elevate his team, it is often his downfall.
Despite Ball’s ability to be a playmaker, he is regularly criticised for taking too many unrealistic shots. Ball’s jump shot is broken and needs a lot of help much like his brother Lonzo. This is backed up by his appalling percentages from the field and especially from three-point range in the NBL. Additionally, Ball does not have enough strength to go up against tall defenders in the paint, but he continues to waste possessions by attempting to create shots in the paint and missing or getting blocked. He has potential to build some muscle and improve his shot but will take some coaching and training in the NBA to develop.
Unfortunately, most of Ball’s weaknesses fall on the defensive end. LaMelo does not bring the same effort and energy to the defensive end that he does on offence. He does not always rush back on defence and often leaves his man too much space. He tried to get steals, often unsuccessfully, which leaves him beat off the dribble. His slim frame means he lacks the strength to defend larger guards and players in the paint. These weaknesses were very noticeable in the NBL and will be easily exposed once he reaches the NBA. Having said all of this, the things that Ball lacks on defence can be remedied with some maturity and the high-level coaching available in the NBA.
No known major injuries to date.
Jason Williams, Spencer Dinwiddie, Shaun Livingston, Flashier Lonzo Ball.
LaMelo Ball is a potential number top three pick in the 2020 NBA draft but much like many of the top prospects, his placement will depend on the results of the draft lottery. Due to their being no defined top prospect like last year with Zion, teams are expected to draft based on need rather than talent.
Likely Team Fit
The best fit for LaMelo Ball is Detroit as most teams at the top end of the lottery have their backcourts locked in already for the future. The Detroit Pistons can begin their rebuild by drafting Ball and building around him for the future. If they are able to keep Derrick Rose around, he can be a great mentor for LaMelo at the point guard position. He would be a great pairing with Sekou and both of them can develop into Detroit’s future duo. Additionally, drafting Ball brings all the media attention surrounding him and his family and for Detroit, any attention is good attention at this point.
LaMelo Ball comes into the 2020 NBA draft as the best Ball brother out of the three. His is an offensively minded guard that possesses an uncanny ability to make flashy passes. He has some clear strengths on the offensive end, but his shot selection and field goal percentages need to be fixed. Additionally, his effort and consistency are clearly lacking on defence and this is another area that needs to be heavily addressed as it will be exposed immediately and often at the NBA level. Despite his weaknesses, Ball’s offensive and playmaking talent alone is enough to make him one of the top prospects in this year’s draft and will make whatever team he ends up on one of the top media destinations.