Projecting Where LaMelo Ball Will Be Selected After 2020 NBA Draft Lottery

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks, left, lays up around Andrew Bogut of the Sydney Kings during their game in the Australian Basketball League in Sydney, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA draft is full of uncertainty, even with the order finalized after Thursday's lottery, but LaMelo Ball should go off the board early in October.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets earned the first three picks, respectively, and any of them could end up taking the young guard.

Ball is considered one of the top prospects in the class, with Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman naming him the top overall prospect throughout last season.

The 18-year-old has taken a strange path to the NBA. After starring at Chino Hills High School alongside his brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo, LaMelo went to Lithuania to play professionally, followed by stints in the JBA, Spire Institute in Ohio and eventually the Illawarra Hawks in Australia's NBL.

The level of competition has remained a question mark, but it was the former 5-star recruit's last stop that proved he can be an elite player.

Ball showed the ability to fill up the stat sheet with 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game against older competition.

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The 6'7" guard knows how to create shots for himself and others, something that will immediately translate to the NBA.

His lone year in the NBL was limited to just 12 games after a foot injury ended his season.The small sample size leaves plenty of question marks about his future, as does his poor shooting (25 percent from three-point range) and defensive issues.

Teams that already feature offensive-minded guards with suspect defense might shy away from Ball, including the Cavaliers, Hawks and Timberwolves. However, each of those teams could use any sort of offensive talent to turn things around after disappointing years. 

The same could be said about the Chicago Bulls, who drafted point guard Coby White with the No. 7 pick last season.

The Detroit Pistons (No. 7) and New York Knicks (No. 8) could both use Ball as they are desperate for offensive help and could each use a boost in star power, but he likely won't last long enough.

If the Warriors do keep their pick, they could use Ball as an added depth piece in the push to get back to contending for an NBA title. He would then eventually take over as the face of the franchise when they eventually move on from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

The Charlotte Hornets are already a guard-heavy team with Terry Rozier and Devonte' Graham leading the team in scoring last year, but offensive skill should not be discounted after they finished dead last in points per game and 29th in efficiency.

Ball would be the perfect addition at No. 3 to build around for years, as they previously did with Kemba Walker.

Pre-draft workouts, interviews and medicals could greatly affect Ball's draft stock, but it's tough to expect the guard to last beyond the No. 3 pick of the draft.