LaMelo Ball Says He 'Most Definitely' Should Be No. 1 Pick in 2020 NBA Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2019

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks in action during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Illawarra Hawks point guard LaMelo Ball said he should "most definitely" be the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft.

Ball, who opted to play professionally in Australia's National Basketball League rather than compete in American college basketball, told Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek he's kept tabs on James Wiseman at Memphis and Anthony Edwards at Georgia, but he believes he's a step above the rest of next year's class.

"Most definitely," he said about being the No. 1 selection in June. "I believe in myself and I've worked hard to get here. The other guys at the top of the draft, James and Anthony, are very talented too. But just in the way I believe in myself, I think I'm the top pick."

The 18-year-old California native has quickly impressed with his wide-ranging skill set in the NBL. He's averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals across 12 appearances.

Like his brother Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans, however, there are concerns about his offensive efficiency. He's shooting just 37.5 percent from the field, including 25 percent on threes.

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Nevertheless, an NBL team executive told Peek it's clear the Hawks guard is a special talent.

"I don't see any way where LaMelo doesn't go No. 1," the exec said. "He sees the floor better than anyone, and his passing and shooting is like nothing I've seen before."

Although Ball is hopeful of proving he deserves to come off the board first, he said his ambitions go far beyond draft night.

"I don't want to be a player that's just drafted and is a role player in the NBA," he told Yahoo Sports. "I want to keep rising from there and be one of the best to ever play the game. I've been working my whole life for this."

It'll likely come right down to the wire between Ball, Wiseman and Edwards, and there's still time for another prospect or two—perhaps North Carolina's Cole Anthony or the New Zealand Breakers' RJ Hampton—to emerge with no clear favorite for the first pick at this stage.  

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