NBA Draft Bio: LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball of Chino Hills, California, is the youngest member of the Ball basketball family, and set to become one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. Let's take a look at how he got to the draft, his strengths, areas of improvement and overall projection as an NBA player. 

Road to the Draft

The 6’7” point guard has taken the circuitous route in getting to the NBA, as he left Chino Hills to play with Lithuanian pro team Prienai in 2018, even though he committed to attending UCLA in 2015. He returned to America to play with SPIRE Institute and Academy, followed by a stint most recently in Australia's National Basketball League (NBL). He was named the 2019-20 NBL Rookie of the Year after averages of 17.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 6.9 apg & 1.7 steals. Through all of this, Ball has been able to play well enough to warrant being a top pick in this year’s NBA Draft – and for good reason.


At 6’7”, LaMelo has great size for a point guard. Combined with his vision, excellent ball handling and quickness he should be able to create open looks for his teammates at the NBA level. Expect to see some highlight reel assists given his flair for creativity, especially in the pick-and-roll. A solid rebounder, he will lead the fast break, resulting in easy buckets and lobs. He’s not just limited to his right hand either – he can throw any pass in the book with both hands. When it comes to getting to the bucket, he has shown the ability to finish with his left and right hand, and has a nice, soft touch. Given his basketball lineage, he certainly has a high basketball IQ which should allow him to improve quickly in the NBA. On the defensive side of the ball, his length and quickness should allow him to be a decent defender immediately. He has the necessary tools to improve over time as a defender, and the potential to be an impact player on that side of the floor.

Areas of Improvement

LaMelo’s shooting (like his brother Lonzo) needs improvement, as he has an unorthodox motion that will more than likely break down in the NBA. As with most young players, his shot selection and decision-making can be erratic at times. And while his flair for the dramatic can result in highlights, they also create many turnovers going the other way, as Ball often decides against making the simple play for the spectacular. His physical stature will also need to improve - he'll need to add muscle as quickly as he can so that his slender frame isn't taken advantage of by more physical NBA guards, whether up top in the pick-and-roll or down low in the post. Lonzo showed the ability bulk up quickly upon being drafted into the league, so there is reason for optimism there. He will also need to improve his work ethic on the defensive side of the ball, as he has been seen floating around at times, and hasn’t shown the ability to fight through screens – although to be fair, this is a knock on several players making the leap into the NBA.

Overall Outlook

Many agree that LaMelo has the potential to be a perennial All-Star and franchise-leading point guard. He has incredible upside with his play-making ability, a high basketball IQ and feel for the game. With improvement in the weight room and the mechanics of his shot, he could be lights out. At worst, he should be a solid pro that adds value to a playoff contending team. At his best, it's possible he can be a Jason Kidd-triple-double type (poor shooting combined with excellent playmaking/rebounding). Regardless of how he pans out, it will be entertaining to watch the youngest Ball make his way into the NBA. 

Photo Credit: AAP/Imago/Icon Sportswire