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LaMelo Ball to Knicks, RJ Hampton to Warriors in Latest ESPN 2020 NBA Mock Draft

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks carries the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

LaMelo Ball has been hyped since he was a freshman in high school, and that isn't slowing down heading into the 2020 NBA draft.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN projected the point guard to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to the New York Knicks next June according to his latest mock draft.

Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton rounded out the top five in the guard-heavy class.

Ball, the youngest brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, was a 5-star recruit in high school and has really impressed this year playing for the Illawarra Hawks of Australia's National Basketball League.

Despite facing older competition, the 18-year-old is averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game this season and has produced some big games:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LaMelo Ball went for a 32-point triple-double and came up clutch with the game-tying three in an OT win. He’s 18 years old 😤 (via @NBL) https://t.co/ZIbE1YgRdD

If the Knicks win the draft lottery, they could use the first pick to finally get the playmaking guard they have been searching for while solidifying the backcourt along with RJ Barrett. Ball also has the type of star power needed in a major market like New York.

Meanwhile, Ball might not be the only player going in the top five despite skipping college.

Hampton is currently playing for the NBL's New Zealand Breakers and is playing better than his numbers indicate:

Ethan Strauss @SherwoodStrauss

LaMelo had 25 points and a triple double. RJ Hampton had a mere 10 points. And yet, I’d say Hampton solidly outplayed Ball https://t.co/lgiiApAba0

The Texas native could end up being a steal for a team like the Golden State Warriors, who are looking at a high lottery pick after picking at the end of the first round for the past several years. Pairing the 6'5" guard with a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and D'Angelo Russell could give the squad one of the most exciting backcourts in the NBA in 2020-21.

The same could be said for the Atlanta Hawks if they land Anthony as Givony projects at No. 4. The North Carolina guard would slide in next to Trae Young in what could be an unstoppable offensive duo.

In the mock, the Memphis Grizzlies would be landing Edwards while the Charlotte Hornets get Wiseman.

While Wiseman is currently serving a 12-game suspension for illegal benefits, the 7'1" center has proved to be a force on both ends. Edwards has thrived for an up-and-down George squad this year, averaging 20.6 points per game in seven appearances.