LaMelo Ball might soon follow in his brother’s footsteps as an NBA lottery pick.
In fact, there’s a real chance Ball winds up being the first player selected in the 2020 NBA Draft.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony released a new mock draft Tuesday on the heels of the National Basketball League (NBL) Blitz in Tasmania — the Australian and New Zealand basketball league’s annual preseason tournament — and Ball landed at No. 3 overall, a rise of more than 20 spots for the 18-year-old son of LaVar Ball and brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.
Only James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards ranked ahead of LaMelo, who is drawing rave reviews for his progress both on and off the court. Givony even wrote that it’s time to start taking LaMelo seriously as the potential top pick next June.
“If he keeps this up, I don’t see any way he isn’t in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick,” one 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.”
One scout told Givony that LaMelo, a point guard for the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL, reminds him of Luka Doncic, who earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors last season with the Dallas Mavericks.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of LaMelo’s development has been that his loudmouthed father, LaVar, hasn’t caused any distractions, largely because former NBA player Jermaine Jackson has played a huge role in managing LaMelo as his trainer and mentor.
LaMelo’s brother, Lonzo, was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. He was traded to the Pelicans earlier this offseason in the deal that sent Anthony Davis to L.A.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images