Bulls, Pistons, Thunder Considering Drafting LaMelo Ball?

Bulls, Pistons, Thunder Considering Drafting LaMelo Ball?

LaMelo Ball is the most polarizing prospect available in the 2020 NBA Draft. Some believe he should go number one overall, while others feel like he is too risky to take within the top five.

According to ESPN NBA Draft insider Jonathan Givony, three teams have emerged as serious contenders to trade up for the youngest Ball brother: the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Most NBA front offices are operating under the assumption that Ball is going No. 1 — either to the Minnesota Timberwolves or a team that trades up to select him,” he wrote. “Some popular picks among executives to make such a move for Ball at No. 1 include the Chicago Bulls (currently holding the No. 4 pick), Detroit Pistons (No. 7) and Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 25, plus a stash of future firsts).”

Of that group, Detroit seems like the most natural landing spot for Ball. Chicago would likely have to trade one of Wendell Carter Jr. or Lauri Markkanen to get this done, and the addition of Ball would slide Coby White into a combo guard position. Similarly, it’s debatable whether OKC would really want to mess with their young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and Darius Bazley by bringing in such a divisive talent.

The intrigue surrounding Ball is not particularly difficult to understand. He has a very notable set of strengths and weaknesses, so if you feel like the former outweigh the latter, then you want him, and if you don’t, then you obviously you’d rather take someone else.

Ball’s strengths are a matter of public record at this point: he is a tremendous ambidextrous distributor, fantastic ballhandler, underrated rebounder and has strong instincts off the ball. The 19-year-old’s weaknesses have been well-publicized as well. They include his knack for incessantly throwing up bad shots, unfortunate shooting mechanics, fear of contact around the rim and sloppy defense.

This past week, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that Ball may slip on some NBA draft boards. “LaMelo Ball has reportedly struggled in workouts and interviews, and many league sources believe he could fall out of the top three,” O’Connor wrote. This aligned with a previous report from Rich Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

“Here is what I’m hearing from the league at large,” he said on 102.5 FM WFNZ in Charlotte. “LaMelo Ball is not performing very well at job interviews. I’ve heard that from multiple sources. He is not improving his perception via job interview.

“There are people drafting later in the top ten who were not preparing for the possibility of Ball still being around and, I’m not saying that he will be a top three pick, I am saying that I know for a fact that there are teams later in the top ten who are doing more research on him because they no longer think it’s a given he will.”

Obviously at this point it’s impossible to say for certain who’s right and who’s wrong about Ball’s status. This time of the year is full of misinformation and bluffing, with various organizations attempting to coerce draft picks and positional advantages over their foes.

Will the Bulls, Pistons or Thunder really end up trading for Ball? Time will tell.

Related: LaVar Ball Is Absolutely Furious With LaMelo (Video)

Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.

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