There are so many options for the first pick in this year’s NBA Draft. For example, Anthony Edwards is a three-level scorer with efficiency issues. While James Wiseman left Memphis mid-season, he oozes potential. Hell, you could make the case for Obi Toppin. But CBS Sports has LaMelo Ball going first.
And, that’s not a great take if you ask me.
Look, I see the potential there. He has fantastic range. Plus, his court vision is unparalleled in this class. Ball makes great reads, especially on the pick-and-roll. Not to mention, he’s a 6’7” point guard with length for days.
On paper, he has all the tools to be an All-Star level player. But basketball isn’t played on paper, it’s played on hardwood. And Ball has been super inconsistent on the hardwood.
People knock Edwards on his inefficiency but boy, does Ball look even worse. Edwards shot an atrocious 29 percent from downtown. Ball is a three-point shooter. He’s known for pulling up at halfcourt and draining a shot while in high school.
However, Ball drained a quarter of his three-point attempts in the NBL. 25 percent is fucking garbage.
That said, Ball only played 12 games for the Illawara Hawks last year. So maybe he was just cold and had a small sample size.
Let’s take a look at his turnovers. Ball had 30 in the 12 games he played and was second on the team. That’s behind Andrew Ogilvy’s 37 turnovers. It took Ogilvy 13 more games to get to that point. Sunday Dech was third on the team with 29 turnovers in 26 games.
Here’s a fun clip of Ball getting yelled at for turning the ball over 17 times in a game:
Defensively, Ball was a force in the league down under. He averaged a cool 1.6 steals to lead the team. He’s got the length to create problems. That said, he’s only about 180 pounds. He needs to gain a lot more muscle to take on players in the NBA.
I haven’t even touched on his biggest drawback: his dad LaVar Ball. The elder Ball likes to run his mouth. He’s an absolute distraction. Back when big brother Lonzo was a Laker, LaVar talked shit about then-head coach Luke Walton. He criticized then-president of basketball operations Magic Johnson. He just constantly ran his mouth. For LaMelo’s sake, I hope LaVar stays quiet.
Now I want to be clear, LaMelo is still a top-five prospect. However with the Warriors currently slated with the best odds at the first pick, you have to wonder if they would take the risk. If I’m Bob Myers, I’m leaning towards the safer option in Edwards.
Ball will get drafted. But right now, it doesn’t make sense for him to go first overall. That said, this take is totally invalid if the Knicks get the first pick. Let’s bring LaMelo to New York, baby!
BANNER: Marc Pendleton // Dayton Daily News