When looking at the 2019-2020 NBA Draft class, many have regarded the class as one of the weakest classes in recent memory. But, one player who has been excluded from the criticism is LaMelo Ball. Ball has been hyped up since his freshman year in high school thanks to his father LaVar Ball and his brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball always being in the spotlight.
LaMelo has definitely not taken a traditional route to the league from playing in Lithuania to Australia. But, is the hype around Ball legit? Is he the best prospect in the class? And which current and former NBA player does he compare to?
LaMelo is the most gifted and creative play maker in the draft class. He has the ability to find open guys and get guys open. On pick and rolls, LaMelo finds the opening at the perfect time. Ball’s height can also be a main factor in this as he is a pure 6’7″ Point Guard. In addition to the passing skills, LaMelo’s ability to create his own shot is superior. Off the dribble, Ball’s shot is deadly as it seems he can shoot from almost everywhere. Although his stats in Australia point to him struggling to score in the NBA, Ball can still find ways to finish at the rim.
Ball’s biggest weakness by far is his shot selection. Ball would go into shooting slumps each game and attempt to shoot himself out of it resulting in more missed field goals. From the field Ball shot 39% and from three, he shot 29%. Another major issue is Ball’s ability to play on the defensive side of the ball. Ball has shown to be inattentive and lazy on defensive possessions and sometimes takes plays off. This laziness on the defensive side won’t slide in the NBA. But, LaMelo has the potential to be a great defender with his great IQ and size.
Looking for a current day comparison for LaMelo was difficult as most point guards are not taller than 6’5. And the ones that are are terrible shooters. LaMelo has been compared to Trae Young multiple times as both seem to launch shots from anywhere on the court and struggle on defense. But, the most accurate comparison is Penny Hardaway. Like Penny, LaMelo is a tall and lanky play maker. Finishing wise, they are very similar as they both use/used floaters as a weapon.
LaMelo one of the two best prospects in the draft along with Anthony Edwards. Teams such as the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks are drooling over LaMelo. Ball’s passing and play making is very rare for a player his age. LaMelo’s superstar potential is no other.
Photo: CBS Sports