Lavar Ball has his opinion. Always. When the patriarch of the Ball family went on the “Road Trippin'” podcast a couple of months ago, he said he didn’t want his youngest son, LaMelo Ball, drafted by the Warriors because he would have to come off the bench behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. “Michael Jordan didn’t come off the bench,” was his logic.
LaMelo Ball is about as interested in his father’s opinions as most 19-year-olds.
“I’m my own man. He’s his own man. He has his opinions, I have mine,” the younger Ball said of his father on Monday while speaking to reporters via Zoom as part of the NBA’s pre-draft process.
“I feel I could play on any team and do good anywhere I go,” Ball said. “Anything that happens, I’m positive.”
Ball is projected to be a top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, scheduled for Nov. 18. Rumors have bounced around the league that if the Timberwolves keep the No. 1 pick they will select Ball to pair with D'Angelo Russell in the backcourt. The Warriors have the No. 2 pick, the Charlotte Hornets select third, followed by Chicago then Cleveland.
Ball spent a chunk of his time with reporters denying having had contact with many teams at the top of the draft, although he said he didn’t know about Minnesota. He did say he had contact with the Knicks, who pick eighth, adding they just wanted to get to know him as a person (outside the online persona). Ball will not be on the board when New York makes its pick (the Knicks could trade up to get him, all the teams at the top of the draft are listening to offers).
Ball’s consistent point was he could fit in with any team.
“Anywhere is a great fit,” Ball said. “It’s the NBA. You put me with good players, I feel like it’s even gonna be better.”
Ball said he has adapted to the unprecedented pre-draft process, in part because his path to the NBA is untraditional. He said he realized back when his father had him playing in Lithuania at 16 he was not going to have the more traditional route to the NBA that his brother Lonzo Ball had, but LaMelo embraced it. LaMelo spent last season playing in Australia before returning to the states to prepare for the draft.
“I feel like I am dealing with it well,” Ball said. “I kinda like it, that nobody has been through something like this, it’s kinda unique, like me… I’m one-of-one.”
For now, Ball is in the Detroit area working out, preparing for the draft. He said some of that Detroit toughness is rubbing off on him.
But he’s happy to bring that with him wherever he gets drafted.