NBA Draft: Profiling the 5 best point guard prospects from the 2020 class

NBA Draft Prospect Lamelo Ball (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
NBA Draft Prospect Lamelo Ball (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images) /
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NBA Draft
NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /

1. LaMelo Ball -Illawarra Hawks

LaMelo Ball has come a long way in his development and maturity as a player. He’s no longer the kid shooting from halfcourt and cherry-picking on defense to go for 100 points – he’s a real basketball player and a pretty darn good one.

Ball doesn’t have jaw-dropping athleticism like a Zion or Morant but he makes up for it with elite ball-handling and unique creativity in his ability to create space and get to the basket. His rare size for the position (anywhere from 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-8, depending on where you look) and high level feel for the game allow him to see the floor and make good reads, flashing the ability to be a true dual-threat scoring playmaker in the NBA.

The knock on Ball is that he hasn’t proven to be an efficient scorer despite showing flashes of real potential. He only played 12 games this year for the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s NBL, and in those 12 games, he shot a worrisome 37.5 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3.

Many skeptics will point to his shooting mechanics, which are likely part of the issue and certainly aren’t out of any shooting textbook, but I see shot selection as the main culprit in his ability to become an efficient scorer. He’s certainly capable of catching fire as seen in his 32 point triple-double against Cairns, but unless he cuts down on the bad shots and finds a way to be more consistent, those performances will continue to be outliers in his overall body of work.

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His last name alone probably makes NBA front offices cringe after the distraction his father was in Los Angeles for LaMelo’s older brother, Lonzo. But he has by far the most star potential of any point guard in this draft, and in a year where there isn’t a lot of that to go around, I expect the off-court concerns to be a non-issue. He’ll be the first point guard off the board come June.