LaMelo Ball has done an impressive job adjusting to his unique circumstances
LaMelo Ball has had an unforeseen rise to the top of the NBA Draft boards. Only a little more than two years ago, he was being pulled out of Chino Hills High School shortly after his brother LiAngelo was pulled from UCLA.
The youngest Ball brother was virtually guaranteed a spot with the Bruins, yet his father LaVar Ball re-routed that road to one must thought would have ruined his future. Following a dubious stint in Lithuania, Ball enrolled with the SPIRE Institute in Ohio after skipping most of his junior year of high school, playing under coach Jermaine Jackson, who now represents him as his manager in the National Basketball League of Australia.
Ball showcased his knack for scoring and his vision, quickly rising from potential outlier to late first-rounder, soon after peaking as a potential top-three pick. The 18-year-old has dazzled during his brief stint down under, showing he’s able to hang with older, physically-mature players, despite still being physically raw as a product.
Yet many people are concerned that his life has been directed by his father — from playing with plenty of privileges at Chino High to playing for a Lithuanian team and a league in which LaVar had a say.
The NBL has been his first real test, thrown to the wolves, but still relying on Jackson’s assistance and navigating the adversity with help of his small circle.
Many executives wonder if he will be able to take the proverbial punch in the face when one comes his way, but executives simply aren’t convinced that he will, according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.
His abilities transfer well to the modern NBA game, but teams in contention to draft him will have to do a lot more scouting and a whole lot of interviewing before they determine if he is indeed worth the risk with a top-five pick.