LaMelo Ball has the highest upside of any player in the 2020 NBA Draft, according to NBC’s own Rob Dauster. He’s a 6’7″ guard who has fantastic handles and elite court vision, which makes him dangerous off the pick-and-roll. Ball’s supporters see a guy who could have a Trae Young, All-Star kind of offensive impact.
There are also serious questions and doubts about whether Ball can reach that ceiling. He lacks a consistent shot, especially from deep, his decision making needs work, his defense is not good at all, and there are lingering questions about his work ethic. Ball is a high variance pick, maybe he can be developed into an elite player, but his floor is also pretty low.
The Knicks, in need of a star, are willing to take a big swing and hope Ball can be a home run. He is the top point guard on the team’s draft board, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.
The Post has learned unequivocally LaMelo Ball is currently the top-rated point guard on the Knicks’ board.
That should hardly be surprising, knowing new president Leon Rose likes to shoot for the stars. Knicks officials believe the 6-foot-7 playmaker/driver has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a 3-point shot. Rose has already dealt with outspoken father Lavar Ball when his sons were briefly with Creative Artists Agency.
A couple of quick thoughts. First, teams are blowing a lot of smoke around their draft intentions at this point, so take every report like this with a grain of salt. Second, teams are not going to seriously factor Lavar Ball into their choice. He will be at most a challenge for the PR staff, but teams have dealt with overbearing parents before. With Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, LaVar was doing television and making a splash early on in the market, but he was a much bigger deal outside the locker room than in it.
This is a draft without a star at the top, so teams are going to look both at potential and the ability of that player to reach it. Does Anthony Edwards have as high a ceiling as Ball? Maybe not, but he’s more likely to reach it and has a higher floor. Fit also may matter to teams more than in other drafts.
The Knicks need a ball handler and Rose may be willing to give Ball a shot to be that guy (RJ Hampton interests the Knicks as well), but he’d be smart to bring in a veteran who can play that role as well.
The Knicks have the sixth-worst record in the NBA as things stand today (it’s unclear if there will be more regular season games). New York a 37.2 percent chance of landing in the top four picks (9 percent they get the top pick) where Ball potentially will be on the board, but a 50.4 percent chance they draft No. 7 or 8, at which point he is likely already taken.
The 2020 NBA Draft is still technically scheduled for June 25, but with the draft lottery and combine already postponed, the draft itself will be pushed back. Likely into the fall.