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LaMelo Ball Plummeting On 2020 NBA Draft Boards?

LaMelo Ball Plummeting On 2020 NBA Draft Boards?

LaMelo Ball is arguably the most intriguing prospect available heading into the 2020 NBA Draft. Much as was the case with his brother, Lonzo, the youngest Ball brother is viewed as a high-risk, high-reward commodity.

Initially, many described LaMelo as a definite top-three selection and possibly the inevitable No. 1 overall pick. However, that no longer seems to be the case. According The Ringer NBA insider Kevin O’Connor, LaMelo’s stock seems to be slipping.

“LaMelo Ball has reportedly struggled in workouts and interviews, and many league sources believe he could fall out of the top three,” he wrote.

This aligns with a similar 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.”

At the moment, any one of five prospects could easily end up being selected with the top overall pick. The list includes: LaMelo, Anthony Edwards out of Georgia, James Wiseman out of Memphis, Deni Avdija out of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Obi Toppin out of Dayton. Each player comes with a very notable set of pluses and minuses.

But no prospect has been more polarizing than LaMelo.

The youngest Ball brother has been a star from the jump. This is a kid who helped lead Chino Hills to a 35-0 mark as a freshman and shared MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year honors with Onyeka Okongwu. A year later, as a sophomore, he scored 92 points in a win over Los Osos High School. After leaving high school early and eventually landing with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s National Basketball League, LaMelo averaged 17.0 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game.

LaMelo has some very clear strengths: he’s a great ambidextrous passer, excellent ballhandler, underrated rebounder and has good instincts off the ball. He also has some noteworthy weaknesses: incessantly jacking up bad shots, poor shooting mechanics, fear of contact around the rim and shoddy defense. NBA teams will have to assess for themselves how each characteristic matters to them.

It is also worth noting that each of the top three squads in this year’s draft is more or less set at guard. It is not a need position for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors or Charlotte Hornets. Really, it’s not until you get to the Detroit Pistons, who have the seventh overall selection, that you land on a team that actually needs what LaMelo brings to the table.

Fittingly enough, chatter of LaMelo-to-Detroit has intensified in recent days. According to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, the Pistons are “intrigued” by LaMelo.

One way or another, LaMelo will go in the top section of the 2020 NBA Draft – that much is clear. But whether or not he will ultimately end up a top-three selection is very questionable at this juncture.

Related: Will Knicks Trade RJ Barrett To Warriors For No. 2 Draft Pick?

Anthony Amador

A recent graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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