NBA Scout Issues Serious Warning About LaMelo Ball
The NBA Draft lottery took place this past week. The Minnesota Timberwolves won the top overall selection, with the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets rounding out the top tier picks.
— NBA (@NBA) August 21, 2020
Most draft boards have the same best players available, albeit in varying orders. LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards are the near-unanimous top three.
However, by virtue of LaMelo’s family history and who his dad is, he has received noticeably more hype than his counterparts. That has been both good and bad for him.
On the positive side, it has allowed him to showcase his immense, undeniable talent to a wide audience. The flip side to that, unfortunately, is that it has also exposed him to a lot of critique.
This week, an NBA scout speaking to the New York Post offered some words of caution as it pertains to the youngest Ball brother.
“LaMelo is a very dangerous choice,” the scout said.
“A very high risk-reward. All the baggage that comes with a decision like that is not what the Knicks need. Honestly, Lonzo [Ball] was a horrific shooter. He did manage to change his shot mechanics and now is a pretty good shooter. It’s very unusual but he did it and possibly LaMelo could, too.”
To be fair, some of that criticism seems unfair. LaMelo is already a much better shooter than Lonzo ever was. Both in terms of catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble scoring, he is superior to his oldest brother.
That said, LaMelo is still a dangerous pick – that much is clear.
LaMelo Ball Comes With Question Marks
Ball is a fascinating talent. His length allows him to be a versatile offensive playmaker, scoring and passing the ball at will.
Prior to getting hurt late last year, he was putting up 23 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds per outing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia.
Granted, Ball has poor shot-selection. That much is undeniable. But presumably that is because he has never played for a real head coach. If whoever is guiding his game along can reign in that bad habit, he could become a difference-maker on offense from the jump.
Defensively, LaMelo isn’t as bad as some people make him out to be, but he also doesn’t try as hard as he should. That is going to be problematic when he gets to the NBA and everyone is stronger than he is. Sure, he has experience playing against grown men, but there is a difference between the grown men he faced and the ones he will face in the United States.
A big difference.
And that will be one of the major weaknesses in Ball’s game, at least early on. Adjusting to how his lack of strength will impact his offense and defense at the NBA level.
The 19-year-old’s other big issue is going to be getting buckets when he is not in transition. Some teams, like the Warriors, obviously would not force him to do that. However, if he ends up with a roster not built for the run-and-gun, scoring will become noticeably more difficult.
Overall, Ball is a classic high-risk, high-reward selection. Traditionally, when confronted with situations like that, organizations tend to bite the bullet and make the pick. That’s what happened with the Los Angeles Lakers and his oldest brother.
One way or another, Ball will end up in the league. What he will do once he gets there remains to be seen.