About LaMelo Ball
LaMelo has been on the basketball radar since his freshman year at Chino Hills High School in California when he won the state crown with his brothers LiAngelo and current NBA player Lonzo. Since then his game and his body have developed significantly. Having grown to 6-foot-7 with good length, he has the tools to be able to make a variety of passes over the top of the defense. This couples with his most NBA ready skill which is his ability to see and read the floor at a level beyond his years. Much of this development arguably came as a result of him opting to play professionally after his junior year of high school. He first played in the Lithuanian league, then back in the United States before going to Australia to suit up for the Illawarra Hawks in the National Basketball League (NBL). On the back of huge performances at the NBL Blitz preseason tournament where he poured in 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, LaMelo’s NBA draft stock rose.
Overall his performance in the NBL, before it was cut short by a foot injury, was solid if a bit shaky in terms of efficiency. He did find his shooting rhythm during the season. Although Ball has a reputation as a gunner who is fearless putting up shots off the dribble his stroke is streaky from three-point range.He lets his elbow slip off to the side, instead of forming a solid shooting base, which could impact his accuracy.
Not a dynamic athlete by NBA standards, LaMelo brings elite-level skills to the table in terms of his passing, handle and to a lesser degree his shooting or at least his threat to shoot.
- Ball, for his size, has a fantastic handle of the basketball and looks smooth even while under intense defensive pressure. This comfort with the ball draws defenders to him and allows him to probe the defense and unleash a variety of passes with either hand to open teammates.
- Able to get his jumper off with a lightning-fast release and an array of step backs and pull-ups on a dime, Ball remains an inconsistent shooter. His lack of burst limits his ability to get to the rim. This is part of the reason he has developed such an array of different floaters. Scoring efficiently in the NBA is an area of concern.
- Despite having a combination of good instincts getting into passing lanes and length Ball is still not a strong defender. Overall, he does not appear to be a truly committed defender and he lacks the kind of athleticism that would allow him to lock down his check and make up for errors in focus.
- Ball’s size and good instincts/ timing make him a solid contributor on both backboards. On the defensive end, he is very capable of rotating down into the paint securing the defensive board and pushing the ball in transition.
- Spent 2019-20 season in Australia’s NBL with the Illawarra Hawks.
- Named 2019-20 NBL Rookie of the Year.
- First gained national attention over his two-year career at Chino Hills (Calif.) High School from 2015-17.
- Shared MaxPreps’ 2015-16 Co-National Freshman of the Year honor with then-teammate and fellow 2020 NBA Draft prospect
- Onyeka Okongwu.
- Left Chino Hills before the start of his junior season, signing a pro contract to play in Lithuania.
- Resumed his high school career as a senior at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, in 2018-19.
- Ranked 17th in the NBL in scoring (17.0 ppg), second in assists (7.0 apg) and steals (1.7 spg) and eighth in rebounding (7.5 rpg).
- Limited to 12 regular-season games due to a foot injury.
- Became the first NBL player since 2005 to post triple-doubles in back-to-back games.
- Tallied 32 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists vs. Cairns (Nov. 24).
- Had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists vs. New Zealand in a matchup with fellow 2020 NBA Draft prospect R.J. Hampton (Nov. 29).
- Has elite size and vision for a point guard.
- Gifted ball handler who can play at different speeds.
- Exceptional passer while on the move.
- Terrific rebounder for his position.
- Has more than 5.5 million Instagram followers.
- Featured in the reality show Ball in the Family on Facebook.
- Played in an AAU game against Zion Williamson, which received more than 800,000 views on Facebook Live.
“The enthusiasm that he brings every day to practice is probably what people don’t see. … The really great players make people around them better, and he does that. He draws people in.”
-Illawarra coach Matt Flinn
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