The 2020 NBA draft isn't until June 25, but New York Knicks fans are likely counting down the days until their team can make its selection. LaMelo Ball, who is at the top of most draft boards, has already gotten an endorsement from an NBA starter about how he would handle calling Madison Square Garden home.
Ball's oldest brother, Lonzo Ball, a point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, spoke with the media in New York on Friday after his team's 123-111 win over the Knicks and assured fans LaMelo would be able to handle the pressure.
"I don't think it's going to bother him," Lonzo said, per SNY.tv's Ian Begley. "He's been in the spotlight since he was 15."
LaMelo has spent 2019-20 playing for the Illawarra Hawks of Australia's National Basketball League, eschewing the college basketball model to get him ready for the rigors of the NBA. To date, he's averaged 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists while shooting 37.7 percent from the field in 12 games. However, he's currently sidelined with a foot injury.
The youngest Ball brother is used to the spotlight—in part because of the efforts of the Balls, spearheaded by patriarch LaVar Ball, to become household names. LaMelo has appeared in the Facebook Watch show Ball in the Family, which chronicles the lives of the family members. That's not to mention the attention his basketball skills drew from scouts and fans alike.
As for the Knicks, they have lost five straight and fell to 10-29 with Friday's defeat. With the third-worst record in the league, their chances for a high pick are looking good. Wherever their fortunes fall in the draft lottery, the player they select will need to handle the scrutiny that comes with playing in New York. According to Lonzo, LaMelo is up to the challenge.