LaMelo Ball Rumors: Knicks 'Never Got a Chance' to Scout Star in Australia

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2020

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

With a foot injury cutting LaMelo Ball's season short in Australia, the New York Knicks lost their opportunity to scout one of the top players in the 2020 draft class.

The New York Post's Marc Berman reported Saturday the Knicks "never got a chance" to watch Ball in the National Basketball League.

Berman added it might not matter too much.

New York already fired head coach David Fizdale in December, and SNY's Ian Begley reported "multiple Madison Square Garden people in positions of influence have been 'obsessed' with - and 'enamored' by" Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri.

Knicks president Steve Mills and/or general manager Scott Perry may be out of a job by the time the team is preparing for the draft in June.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Ball as the No. 1 overall player in his most recent big board. He made 12 appearances for the Illawarra Hawks, averaging 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists while shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The 6'7" guard would fit well in the Knicks rotation since the team lacks a long-term option at point guard. Elfrid Payton's $8 million salary for 2020-21 is only partially guaranteed, while neither Dennis Smith Jr. nor Frank Ntilikina looks suited to be a starting point guard.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball downplayed the difficulty his younger brother would have playing in the New York market:

At 11-32, the Knicks own the NBA's third-worst record, which would give them a tie for the highest odds of landing the No. 1 pick (14 percent), per Tankathon. New York would also have a 52.1 percent chance of falling in the top four.

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