Would Detroit trade up in draft to land LaMelo Ball?

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LaMelo Ball is sliding down draft boards.

The Detroit Pistons need both a point guard and a star of the future.

Detroit has the No. 7 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and while Ball’s draft stock may be slipping he’s not going to be around by the time they pick. Would Detroit move up to get LaMelo Ball? Eric Woodyard of ESPN speculates they might. 

Currently holding the No. 7 pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA draft, Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver says that “moving up is definitely an option.”

One possible target has been training in the team’s backyard throughout the pandemic: top prospect LaMelo Ball — whose mentor and manager, Jermaine Jackson Sr., is a former Piston and Motown native…

“I’m always happy to hear players embrace our organization, our city. That never goes unnoticed. I know people around him. His trainer is a Detroit native, so I’m sure he’s been here for a while working out,” Weaver said during Thursday’s pre-draft media availability. “I’m sure he’s well versed in the city from traveling around, being with his trainer and hearing different things, so no, that doesn’t go unnoticed and that’s always a positive when prospects speak highly of the city and the organization.”

Ball is the ultimate high risk/high reward player. He has the highest ceiling of any player in this draft but also could be the kind of draft miss that gets a GM in trouble with fans and ownership. Ball is 6’7″, has the handles to create space for himself and the vision of an elite passer — all the skills to be a dynamic pick-and-roll point guard in the NBA. He can score. He’s also got an awkward and very inconsistent shot, his shot selection and playmaking decision need a lot of work, and his defense has been terrible.

The question that teams have to ask: Does Ball have the work ethic and love of the game to put in the time and improve those weaknesses?

Some team will bet that he does, likely taking him in the top three, certainly the top five. That could be a team that trades up to get him.

Is that worth it for Detroit to draft LaMelo? It depends on the cost of moving up and willingness to take the risk — and Detroit should be willing. A promising pick-and-roll point guard to go with a re-signed Christian Wood could be a foundation for the future. Ball would certainly bring attention and — when this can happen again — put people in the seats at Little Ceasars Arena.

There are certainly picks available for teams looking to trade up in this draft. It’s something to watch on draft night.