NBA executive thinks LaMelo Bell will be in conversation for No. 1 pick in 2020
An NBA executive and a scout are quite impressed with the development and the emergence of LaMelo Ball, who took an unchartered route to the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft. The youngest of the Ball brothers was pulled out of high school by his father LaVar during Lonzo’s rookie season, then traveled to Lithuania for a chance to play professionally, then made his way back to the high school circuit, which landed him a chance with the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL Blitz, the Australian and New Zealand basketball league’s annual preseason tournament.
LaMelo has improved greatly in the eyes of scouts, jumping more than 20 spots after being considered a late first-round get, to now the No. 3 prospect heading into next year’s draft. Ball showed out against reigning Australian league Defensive Player of the Year Damian Martin, who tried to slow him down to no avail, as the 6-foot-7 point guard cruised to a 19-point, 13-rebound, seven-assist performance.
“If he keeps this up, I don’t see any way he isn’t in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick,” an NBA executive told ESPN. “He completely changed my perception of the type of prospect he is, and all of the background info I gathered here from his coaches and teammates paint a very different story of what I thought about him off the court as well.”
“He reminds me of Luka Doncic,” a scout said. “Just in terms of his size, his feel and his creativity.”
Ball has not only impressed with his seamless, innate feel for the game and the control of his own pace, but also his improved shot selection and mechanics, along with his body language.
“He plays with incredible pace. He’s never sped up. He’s never rattled by anything that’s thrown at him,” the same scout said. “You’re expecting something magical to happen every time he has the ball. He sees everything. He can make every pass with either hand off a live dribble. His style of play is tailor-made for the NBA game, especially if you surround him with shooting and better finishers.”
Ball trails only 6-foot-3 shooting guard Anthony Edwards, who committed to Georgia, and 7-foot-1 Memphis center James Wiseman, who currently tops ESPN’s chart as the top pick going into next year’s draft. If LaMelo Ball keeps proving his doubters wrong, there’s no reason he can’t make yet another climb to the top of the mock chart, given how well his game translates to the next level.