Knicks Rumors: LaMelo Ball 'Unequivocally' Top-Rated PG on NY's NBA Draft Board

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 23, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks carries the ball up during their game against the Sydney Kings in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney.  LaMelo Ball's bone bruise on his left foot is expected to keep him out of the Illawarra Hawks lineup for the remainder of the National Basketball League season in Australia. The 18-year-old American, who joined Illawarra as part of the NBL's Next Stars program, is expected to be a first-round pick in this year's NBA draft.(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

If the New York Knicks target a point guard in the 2020 NBA Draft, LaMelo Ball will reportedly be their preferred choice. 

Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, Ball is "unequivocally" the top-ranked point guard on the Knicks' draft board. SNY's Ian Begley confirmed the report. 

Berman noted that Knicks officials believe Ball "has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a three-point shot."

The Knicks have tried to find a true point guard for years with no success. Frank Ntilikina is a strong defensive player, but he owns a 36.6 shooting percentage in 178 games since being drafted No. 8 overall in 2017. 

Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, is averaging a career-low 5.5 points per game and shooting 34.1 percent from the field in 34 games this season. 

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has Ball ranked as the top player in the 2020 class: 

"With 6'7" size, special passing skills and obvious basketball IQ, it's easy to picture that LaMelo Ball's high-level playmaking will translate. At 18, he ranked second in the NBL in assists per game while limiting his turnover rate to 12.0 percent. Teams should be able to bank on Ball to create easy shots for teammates in transition and off ball screens."

New York's need for scoring and playmaking would make Ball an ideal fit. The team currently has a nine percent chance to win the draft lottery—which was postponed from its scheduled date on May 19 because of the coronavirus pandemicbased on having the NBA's sixth-worst record (21-45).