Having a Ball at the 2020 NBA Draft
He may not be blessed with the physical gifts of your typical NBA point guard but LaMelo Ball has a lot of upside to his game.
Indeed, the team that selects the 19-year-old former Illawarra Hawk of Australia’s National Basketball League in the 2020 NBA Draft will be getting a player with an unusual skill set that could play very well at the game’s highest level.
First and foremost, he’s blessed with the kind of on-court vision that enables him to make Harlem Globetrotter-like passes to find the open shot. He’s also a strong ball handler who can push the ball up court and take it into the lane with either hand, and he knows how to respond to defensive pressure. And at 6 feet 7 inches, he’s big for a point and that can create some advantageous size mismatches.
As for his shot, it’s funky and doesn’t fall at a great rate but it is enough to keep defenses honest so that he can capitalize on his formidable playmaking skills. Though with experience, he could develop into a proficient 3-point shooter.
If there is a weakness to his game, it’s his athleticism. His lack of strength and leaping ability make it harder for him to score in traffic and over length. Also, his effort on defense is less than impressive, which could be a sticking point for any team thinking of taking him in the top 10.
He’ll certainly find his new team Wednesday, Nov. 18, when ESPN presents a live broadcast of the 2020 NBA Draft from its studios in Bristol, Conn.
Full name: LaMelo LaFrance Ball
Birth date: Aug. 22, 2001
Birthplace: Chino Hills, Calif.
Height/weight: 6 feet, 7 inches/181 pounds
Teams: Illawarra Hawks (Australian Basketball League, 2019-20); Los Angeles Ballers (Junior Basketball Association, 2018); BC Prienai (Lithuanian Basketball League, 2018)
Position: Point guard
Honors and achievements: NBL Rookie of the Year (2020); JBA champion (2018); JBA All-Star (2018)