Scouting LaMelo Ball

2020 NBA Draft Scouting Report: 6’7″ PG, 190 lbs, Age 18

Perhaps the most polarizing player in the 2020 draft class, LaMelo Ball has been in the spotlight ever since he was 14 years old and the world was introduced to the Ball family. Along with his brother Lonzo, LaMelo soon shared the center of attention. Melo’s high school games garnered millions of views with his 92 point game a big part of his legend. Basketball fans followed him all the way to Lithuania and honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the kid at first. I still remember being taken by surprise when I first watched LaMelo play again in Australia for the first time in years. Obviously he was a lot taller (as you saw him finally dunk in games), but he also seemed more mature than I first remembered him. Soon, LaVar’s proclamation that the youngest Ball brother would be the best one to play basketball made much more sense.

In twelve games before injury cut his season short with the Illawara Hawks, LaMelo Ball averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game. The best way I can describe Melo’s game is unpredictable and might remind you of MyPlayer in NBA 2K. Nobody on the court not even Melo’s teammates can anticipate what play comes next from Ball. He might dish a fancy no look pass, shoot from 40 ft out, or finish in transition. For better or worse, he will be your offense a la Trae Young. One thing will be assured: whichever team drafts LaMelo Ball will have the attention of fans from across the NBA. People who never watched Australian basketball before made sure to watch his NBL games and that only figures to continue at the next level.

STRENGTHS

  • Ability to change speeds as a shifty guard, playmaker
  • Active hands, averaged 1.6 steals per game
  • Gifted passer, can fit passes into tiny pockets
  • Long lanky frame should help him defensively
  • Competitive player, rarely see him crack a smile on the court
  • Creative handles for his age (followed by probably my favorite LaMelo highlight)

 

WEAKNESSES

  • His shot needs work, he sets low and shoots in front of face with two hands (shot <40% from the field, 25% from deep, 72% free throw shooter)
  • Plays defense when engaged but often has lapses
  • Shot selection, too much confidence in his shot?
  • No real midrange shot, takes long floaters instead

 

COMPARISON

My brother, Sadaab, came up with a Russell Westbrook comparison for LaMelo Ball and I think it fits pretty well. While Westbrook is far more athletic, Ball is a quintessential playmaker like Russell. This sequence below is Westbrook-esque as LaMelo can draw double teams and play-make leading to open dunks.

Here you can see Ball find open shooters like Westbrook routinely does and also uses his quick first step to dunk rather easily.

Like we mentioned before, I expect Ball to take over a team’s offense very much like Westbrook does and whether that leads to winning games is a whole other question. I expect LaMelo to fill up the stat sheet with triple doubles much in the Westbrook mold.

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