LaMelo Ball Projected No. 1 Pick, NBA Teams Looking to Move Up in the Draft to Take Him

LaMelo Ball (left) playing in Lithuania in 2018. Photo by Rob Sambles/Frozen In Motion/Shutterstock

With the 2020 NBA Draft being just one week away, the chatter and rumors surrounding the potential top selections are slowly starting to pour in. The latest one is that guard LaMelo Ball is expected to go first overall but that he won’t end up playing for owners of the No. 1 pick Minnesota Timberwolves.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports that there is an increasing belief among NBA’s top executives that Ball will be first off the board. The brother of New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball is considered to be the most talented player in his class and the only “sure” pick.

Still, given that Timberwolves already have a ball-dominant guard on their roster in D’Angelo Russell, they might not be incentivized to take Ball. According to Givony, several other NBA teams will be looking to exploit this and move up to No. 1.

The list of teams that could try to convince Minnesota to give up the No. 2 pick includes Chicago Bulls, who own the No.4 pick, Detroit Pistons, who are looking to make a jump from the No. 7 spot, and Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 25 pick).

If the rumor is true, Thunder are favorites to go ahead as they have the most to offer. Aside from having No. 25 pick, they also own a chest of future first and second picks from LA Clippers and Houston Rockets that they can use to sweeten the deal.

LaMelo Ball opted to skip college last season in favor of playing for NLB’s Illawarra Hawks. It proved to be a smart decision as he won the NLB rookie of the year award by averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game.