Where do I even begin on LaMelo Ball, the young Big Baller, and a prospect who's been covered by the media since his adolescence. Likely the most polarizing player and personality in this year's draft, it could never have been any way for the youngest of the Ball family.
The highs are high. If you see him on the right night, with his long, athletic frame and unlimited confidence, it's easy to imagine him as the future face of the NBA. But a darker side of his game exists too. Is Ball the epitome of how AAU culture has hurt the game? Has LaVar's scheme and the media exposure warped his world past the point of no return? There's a large spectrum of opinions on Ball. Here's our model's:
- Man can he pass. The vision he's blessed with is something you're only born with. He posted 7.9 assists per 36 (94th percentile for guards)
- Our model projects him as an elite scorer, with a grade of 96/100. He's extremely aggressive, putting up 19.2 shots per 36 (95th percentile for guards). He find points through the modern channels of threes (7.7 attempts per 36) and free throws (4.5 attempts per 36), which should translate well to the NBA.
- He's an elite rebounder for a guard. Our model graded him as a 75/100, which makes him the best rebounding guard in our entire database.
- He's young. He would've been 19.2 years old at the time of the draft if it hadn't been postponed
- He was shockingly inefficient as a scorer. Like I'm not even mad I'm impressed levels. His True Shooting percentage of 45% ranks 661st of the 682 prospects in our database.
- His three point percentage of 25% is in the 5th percentile for guards while being in the 89th percentile for number of attempts (7.7 per 36). As a three point shooter he was incredibly prolific while simultaneously wildly inaccurate.
- He was also unimpressive as a free throw shooter, only hitting his at a 72% clip (19th percentile of guards)
- Illawarra went 4-9 with Ball in the lineup. One player does not decide an outcome... but it's not what you want for an elite prospect
First off, quick rant. The comparisons of LaMelo to his brother, Lonzo, are lazy and asinine. They play the game in entirely different ways. Lonzo is a facilitator at heart, most content setting up teammates and thriving without the ball in his hands. LaMelo seems exists solely as the center of the universe on the floor.
Ok, back to LaMelo and his outlook. Ball is going to put up numbers. He's too confident, too skilled, and too aggressive not too. He sees the floor extremely well and has highly sophisticated moves in his toolkit. He's going to have moments that leave us all amazed and drooling at his potential.
But rumor is that his stock is falling, and I believe for good reason. He's not a player that will help a team win today, and he may never be. How does he fit into any system where the ball's not consistently in his hands? Can he even become even a league average shooter? Ball feels destined to become another good stats, bad team guy, similar to Anthony Edwards.
- Our Comp: Zach LaVine
- Suggested Draft Range: Top 10
- Immediate Impact: Low (high volume, low efficiency scorer)
- Long Term Potential: High (perennial all-star, 24 PPG / 7 RPG / 7 APG)
Here's our comparison between LaMelo and Lonzo: