NBA Execs: LaMelo Ball Has Most Star Power in 2020 Draft, Should Be Top 2-3 PickAugust 19, 2020
LaMelo Ball has long been one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2020 NBA draft class.
Scouts have praised the guard's playmaking abilities, though he hasn't seen tough competition lately to prove it. Ball bypassed a college career to sign with the Hawks of Australia's National Basketball League but played just 12 games before suffering a foot injury that ended his season.
Then the coronavirus pandemic kept him away from NBA workouts, and a league hiatus delayed the annual combine.
Yet Ball could still become a top pick, with ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz justifying the hype after speaking to numerous front offices:
"Despite all that, Ball would be my selection at No. 1, regardless of any team fit or need. Several general managers and front-office executives told ESPN that Ball has the most star power in the draft and should be considered a top-two or top-three pick leaguewide. Whether he ends up turning around a franchise or not, there's no question LaMelo Ball will enter the NBA in style, 5.5 million Instagram followers and all, generating highlight after highlight wherever he lands, just as he's been doing since those early days in Chino Hills."
The younger brother of Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball, LaMelo may have the most upside of his siblings and could join Lonzo as the second person in his family to be a top-two pick—the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo with the second pick in 2017.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected LaMelo to the Detroit Pistons at No. 2 in his latest mock draft, noting the Pistons could take him No. 1 overall if they land the top pick:
"The Pistons need his ability to create quality looks for teammates, which seems guaranteed to translate based on his 6'7" size, ball-handling, unteachable vision and playmaking skill.
"The Pistons also have shooters in Luke Kennard, Svi Mykhailiuk and Tony Snell to surround Ball, who could use both the targets and space they provide."
Other teams may find Ball's passing skills too much to pass up on as well.
The NBA Draft Lottery is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Once the draft order is set, Ball's future should become more clear.