LaMelo Ball a potential No. 1 overall pick in 2020 draft, NBA exec says

An unidentified scout tells ESPN that Ball resembles Luka Doncic “in terms of his size, his feel and his creativity.”

LaMelo Ball created some buzz with his performance in his first game with NBL’s Illawarra Hawks in Australia, leaving one unidentified NBA executive to suggest the youngest Ball brother could go No. 1 in next year’s draft.

“If he keeps this up, I don’t see any way he isn’t in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick,” the NBA executive told ESPN. “He completely changed my perception of the type of prospect he is, and all of the background info I gathered here from his coaches and teammates paint a very different story of what I thought about him off the court as well.”

An unidentified scout said Ball resembles young Mavericks star Luka Doncic “in terms of his size, his feel and his creativity.”

“He plays with incredible pace. He’s never sped up. He’s never rattled by anything that’s thrown at him,” the scout said. “You’re expecting something magical to happen every time he has the ball. He sees everything. He can make every pass with either hand off a live dribble. His style of play is tailor-made for the NBA game, especially if you surround him with shooting and better finishers.”

Ball’s coach, Matt Flinn, praised the young guard for how he’s handled himself and adapted to the NBL.

“He’s exceeded expectations. He’s come with absolutely zero baggage,” Flinn said. “He’s assimilated into his teammates, and they genuinely like having him around. His willingness to share the ball, his willingness to pass, that’s fun to be around, and that’s fun to play with. I’ve gotten good feedback that this is the happiest people have seen him in a while.

“I haven’t heard from [his father] LaVar, so we must be doing something right.”

Ball, 18, was a star at Chino Hills High School and had committed to play at UCLA but was forced to skip college because of eligibility concerns after playing professionally in Lithuania with his brother, LiAngelo, for one season. He also had a signature shoe.

There have been some concerns from scouts about Ball’s fame and family as the Big Baller Brand continues to make headlines, not necessarily in a good way, but Ball reassured reporters that he’s going to be himself. ESPN also notes that Ball’s coaches and teammates haven’t experienced any trouble with his family.

“I just need to be myself,” Ball said when asked about his family’s off-court drama. “People really don’t know the whole background story. They get what they see on camera. Everybody who really just knows me, they already know.”