The Atlanta Hawks should target LaMelo Ball with their projected top-5 pick, who would fit right in with what the team is building.
In a draft that could be slightly unpredictable because of the cancellation of all college tournaments including the NCAA Tournament, it’s difficult to really put a finger on who could be a star at the next level.
There are numerous intriguing talents in the 2020 class though, from USC standout Onyeka Okongwu to potential No. 1 overall pick, Georgia’s Anthony Edwards.
One name who could quite possibly be a lottery pick is LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball. The 18-year-old has experienced a rather different road to the NBA Draft, leaving Chino Hills High School at 16 to explore professional opportunities overseas in Lithuania, to this season playing in Australia.
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The 6-foot-8 guard has polished his game over the last couple of years, solidifying himself as a can’t-miss prospect. This season for the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL, Ball played just 12 games after going down with a foot injury but in the short time he was available, the 18-year old impressed. He averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, and seven assists per contest.
So why would he be such a great fit in Atlanta? Imagine Ball in a backcourt with one of the NBA’s brightest young stars. Trae Young.
Ball/Young backcourt would be scary
At 6-foot-8, Ball is a very good size for a guard. Pair that with his 6-foot-10 wingspan and you have a player with massive potential. He possesses extraordinary court vision, showing that he’s a very selfless player who doesn’t shy away from facilitating the ball.
He’s just 180 lbs which is relatively light for his height, allowing him to move around very swiftly on the hardwood. This year in the NBL, he attempted just over 1.3 3-pointers per contest for just a 25 percent clip, which isn’t great. However, it was just 12 games and he has proven in the past to be an effective shooter from downtown. Ball’s real moneymaker is his slick handles and ability to drive past opponents and finish at the hoop.
If you haven’t already noticed, Ball’s skill set is very similar to Young. He’s bigger in stature, but they are both outstanding playmakers who are also natural-born scorers. Young is a player who is great at creating scoring chances for himself. Ball is the exact same. He’s a ball-dominant guard who can make something out of nothing on the offensive end.
He also shot just 37 percent from the field in Australia, which is a number that will need to definitely improve at the next level along with his efficiency from long range. But again, he only played a handful of games. During that time though, Ball showed exactly why he is one of the top prospects for the upcoming draft, collecting back to back triple-doubles on four separate occasions.
His combination of length, athleticism, and playmaking/scoring abilities make him a very exciting prospect for scouts as the draft approaches. If the Hawks were able to nab him at fourth overall, I personally believe it’d be the perfect fit. Not only is he a similar player to Young, but he would also develop a ton alongside him. Ball would learn so much from Trae because it was only a couple years ago went he was in the same spot as a rookie in the NBA trying to make a name for himself.
LaMelo Ball is a player who can impact the game in numerous ways and make a team better instantly. The Atlanta Hawks need to keep rebuilding because Trae Young and John Collins simply aren’t enough. Ball is the answer.