1 - LaMelo Ball

6-6, 180 Point Guard
USA International
08/22/01 (22.1 yrs)
Los Angeles, CA
High School
Spire Institute
JBA Profile
LKL Statistics
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling

NBA Comparison: Jalen Rose/Shaun Livingston

Strengths: A physically gifted lead guard prospect with plenty to like in terms of his potential fit into the NBA, as he’s a rangy 6’8 perimeter player with the frame to become even more imposing as he packs on muscle … A wizard with the ball in his hands with elite ball handling and passing ability … He projects as more of a combo or point guard, but due to his frame he should easily be able to defend some SFs as he gains strength and experience, adding to his intrigue as a prospect … On top of his size, he is also a very coordinated athlete with great body control and agility … A rangy strider, Ball is also capable of playing above the rim; particularly when he has a head of steam, and he has shown the ability to leap off of one or both feet … Has the ability to be a real triple double threat on a nightly basis, in addition to his scoring and passing potential … Ball also has the size and instincts to be a factor on the glass (nearly 8 rpg in the Australian NBL in 2019) … A highly imaginative, instinctive and creative playmaker, Ball applies pressure on the defense because he has an assortment of moves in his arsenal … Adept at reading the defense while on the move, knowing when to pass or shoot … An excellent ball-handler who has a natural feel for setting up defenders with misdirection moves and change of pace dribble combos to get into the lane and create for himself and others … May be the best player in this draft at reading on-ball and help defense simultaneously when operating in pick and roll offense, and he has shown the ability to make flashy pocket passes on the move, as well as an ever-improving ability to finish through or around contact with either hand near the rim … Reads the floor well with the ball in his hands, and constantly breaks down the defense with his initial moves off the bounce … A pretty flamboyant prospect with a big persona, likes to make the highlight reel play and over time should inject excitement into the fan base of whatever team he lands on … Excellent court vision as you’d expect from a lead guard with his type of size, able to thread the needle and has been known to lead teammates to easy shots near the rim by  “passing them open” … Rewards teammates for moving without the ball (6.8 apg in the Australian NBL in 2019) … Keeps his eyes up and also does a nice job of not telegraphing what he wants to do or where he’s going to go with the ball … Does a very good job of feeding the “hot hand”, an uncommonly unselfish player for such a ballyhooed prospect … Would flourish in an up-tempo system, looks to push the ball and make splash plays in the open court as often as he can while also showing some ability to trail and hit spot up 3s … Has an effective floater already, has shown good touch as well as improved footwork and accuracy in the past 2 seasons by leaping off of 2 feet instead of 1 on his mid-range shots … Has shown some raw shot-making ability from the perimeter throughout his amateur and international career, and has frequently shown that he can put up points in bunches from all over the court … Has decent shooting touch and should continue to improve as a spot-up marksman … Very confident player, rarely ever seems in over his head or afraid of taking important shots … Has shown a few exciting flashes as a ball thief and help defender, and could even factor as a shot-blocker on the perimeter and near the rim against wings with his size, quick hands and keen anticipation … His experience playing pro ball will help his adjustment to the NBA somewhat, particularly in terms of physicality and his understanding of help defense … Also has had the benefit of being able to watch his older brother, 2017 lottery pick Lonzo Ball, and his pre-draft process as well as his early development as a professional to learn how to navigate through the rigors and grind of the draft process and ultimately NBA seasons …

Weaknesses: His overall jump shot lacks any real consistency at the moment, and just like his older brother that can likely be attributed to his highly unorthodox shooting form … His release point is low, somewhere between his chin and his chest, and he shoots a set shot with below average elevation, leading to plenty of flat shots and bad misses whether open or contested (25% from 3point range on 6 attempts per game in 2019) … His mediocre FT shooting (72%) points to him potentially becoming a reasonably efficient shooter in time, but he’s a work in progress …. Ball’s shot selection will also need to improve, as he made just enough deep shots to both keep the defense honest, as well as justify (mostly to himself) that he should at times hoist low percentage shots off the dribble from all over the court … While a pretty good athlete, he is more smooth than dynamic and will only sporadically try to play above the rim in the half court … Should continue to add weight and strength to his improving frame, as he currently gets outmuscled by players with similar size on both ends of the court … Has some experience playing off the ball, but clearly is more effective making plays with the ball in his hands … At times can be turnover prone looking to make the home-run play when a simpler play is available … Doesn’t show any real consistent toughness or effort defensively, mostly interested in jumping passing lanes for run outs or trying to swipe for steals … Rarely stays alert or in a stance for full defensive possessions, has issues fighting through screens and may struggle to defend quicker PGs as a young pro … Seems like the type of player who will be asked to defend the other team’s worst perimeter scorer as he develops, but his defensive versatility (and effectiveness) could improve as he gets stronger and shows more awareness, largely due to his physical tools … There have been whispers that some teams may see Ball’s more nonchalant approach as a player as a questionable investment for a potential franchise player and top draft choice, though his improvement over the past few years seems to point to a determined, hard working young player …

Overall: LaMelo Ball is a top prospect in the 2020 Draft class and shows truly special natural instincts as an overall playmaker with the ball … There will be a host of teams picking in the top half of the lottery looking for his services, and they will be getting a player who will walk into the NBA with the skill set to put up a triple double statline on any given night…You rarely find guards who have the type of size and talent Ball possesses, though he does have some things to work on in terms of perimeter shooting efficiency and overall defensive presence … Still, his basketball instincts, physical gifts and fun-to-watch style of play will make him a favorite to be selected as the top pick in the draft …

Jorrye Nixon 11/9/20

Strengths: 6’6 point guard … Good size and length, especially for position … Can shoot off the catch or dribble. Shoots it well from deep and has good arc on shot, most of his makes find the bottom of the net. Hits shots from the NBA 3PT line and is a threat to score from literally anywhere in the half court. His jump shot keeps the defense tense and they must guard him tight away from the basket. Good free throw shooter … Gets to the rim off the dribble, using an effective crossover. Good variety and craft as a finisher. Finishes very well in the paint and in traffic, uses glass when appropriate. Good touch on floater … Good ambidexterity, doesn’t hesitate to use either hand dribbling, passing, or finishing. Creative playing style. Very good ballhandler. Creates for himself and others naturally … High basketball IQ. Tremendous instincts, read and reacts, never hesitates or second guesses himself. Supreme self-confidence. Finds the open man when the help defense comes. Tremendous court vision, passing, and playmaking ability, top of his class. Always knows where all four teammates are. Hits teammates in stride and when they’re in position to score. Can run the pick and roll/pop. Throws accurate outlet passes. Pushes the ball after rebounds, steals, and every other opportunity. Thrives in an up-tempo style but can also play in the half court … Good defender when committed both on and off the ball. Has a nose for the ball, gets clean steals when going for double teams. Good anticipation, jumps passing lanes very well to start instant offense. High steal count … Smooth. Quick hands and light on his feet. Good body control as a ballhandler and in the air. Changes speed and direction very well with the ball … Unselfish. Impacts the game without scoring, isn’t ineffective playing alongside other scorers, and compliments the talent around him. Sometimes he’s quick with the trigger but never forces his scoring or hunts for his shots. He tends to add points in bunches as needed or they accumulate as the game progresses … Rebounds very well on both ends for position … A triple-double threat in high school and impacts the game in multiple statistical categories … Nonchalant demeanor, doesn’t rattled under pressure … Has a lot of experience competing against grown men. Younger for his class, will turn 18 in August after high school. A full year younger than quite a few players who played in the high school all-star circuits. In one case, two full years younger …

Weaknesses: Smooth but not an incredibly explosive athlete. Doesn’t get much pop off two feet or in half court situations, especially compared to other guards in his class … Set point on shot is a bit low and he tends to fade a bit at times. Shot selection can improve, he’s a threat to score from anywhere but sometimes pulls up for deep and contested shots that aren’t necessary … Thrives in a fast-paced game, with that can come loose play and high turnovers … Skinny, lacks strength in both the upper and lower body … Can get more action off the ball, tends to drift at times. Roams defensively at times as well, gambling and looking for runout opportunities …

Outlook: Younger brother of Lonzo Ball … High school career has been a wild ride: from Chino Hills, Lithuania, JBA League, Spire Institute, to the NBL … Has had a lifestyle unlike any other player his age, already a household name with his own TV show and signature sneaker … Freshman on the 2016 undefeated Chino Hills team … Scored 92 points in a game as a high school sophomore … 2019 MVP of The Grind Session and led Spire Institute to the championship game …

Evan Tomes 8/3/19

Notes: On 6/17/19 committed to play for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL … Potentially eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft … Younger brother of Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans …

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