It’s not a question at this point; LaMelo Ball sits in a tier above the rest of the 2020 NBA draft class. The 18-year-old point guard has taken an untraditional route to stardom after high school by playing professionally in Australia, and he’s taken an enormous leap in his play and seemingly, his maturity.
LaMelo to the NBA has been the topic of conversation for seemingly four years now, ever since his brother Lonzo Ball hit the scene and father LaVar Ball graced the internet with his presence. Melo is the baby of the family and has been touted as the best player in the family, which seems true as his game has ascended immensely since his high school days. He hasn’t had the most traditional path to the NBA thus far. A short stint in Lithuania and an even shorter stint with the Los Angeles Ballers didn’t seem to generate any growth in his game, but somehow he’s gotten better.
It wasn’t until this last season with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia that he’s proved it’s time to make the jump to the next level; the NBA. Ball was named the NBL’s Rookie of the Year for the 2019-2020 season after an impressive showing, averaging 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game.
To Melo’s luck, he’s in a weaker draft class, with few players that are thought to be a guaranteed success, like last year. Melo is ready. His passing ability would be considered elite, right now in the NBA and he has a basketball IQ that’s untouched by most, if not all 18 of 19-year-old college freshmen. His frame at the point guard position is scary as well, standing at 6-foot-8, 190 pounds. He’ll be an automatic threat for 98% of NBA point guards outside of Ben Simmons because he can see over defenders, which is the leading reason why his passing is so spectacular.
We haven’t even touched on his ball-handling skills. He’s crafty with the ball, and he’s shifty with the ability to change directions. His oldest brother, Lonzo Ball isn’t as shifty with the ball, he’s more of a downhill, driving guard, which isn’t good or bad, but Melo’s style of play will translate better to today’s NBA.
I could continue to praise Ball’s skill, and it would be well-deserved, but I prefer not to ramble. Instead, let’s talk about the businessman in him. For an 18-year old, LaMelo Ball’s mindset is also far advanced. Whether it’s his money, his father forcing him to do things, or some solid advice from his agent, Ball has made moves that NBA veterans don’t even think to make. There’s a list of things to mention, but more recently, Ball bought his Australian team, the Illawarra Hawks with his agent Jermaine Jackson.
We own the team,” Jackson told ESPN. “It’s a done deal.”
The Hawks were in a financial bind under their previous ownership of Simon Stratford and were forced to furlough staff and coaching amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The Hawks are a small market and were one of the NBL’s original franchises, founded in 1979. Ball’s presence helped boost the Hawk’s footprint internationally but didn’t do much financially.
LaMelo Ball is NBA ready. He’s a very tall, skilled, and competent point guard. Point guards with those three attributes are doing great things in the NBA right now. Ball’s business mindset is setting him up for success past basketball, much like Chris Paul, Lebron James, Russell Westbrook, and other A-list NBA players. The future looks incredibly bright for the youngest Ball brother. Will he be the No. 1 pick?