LaMelo Ball has migrated halfway across the globe to escape the drama and comparisons regarding his elder family members in order to establish himself as a “serious” candidate to be selected first overall in next year’s National Basketball Association Draft.
Last Friday, the heralded point guard prospect displayed a performance that helps build his case during the NBL Blitz in Tasmania, as a member of the Illawarra Hawks. The 6-foot-7 Ball has an impressive game. He scored 19 points while grabbing 13 rebounds in his 32 minutes of play. Also, he proved to be a facilitator on offense for his team throughout the win by dishing out seven assists.
The performance was eye-opening for NBA scouts, as members of 27 different NBA front-offices were in attendance. Ball is trying to shake the stigma that he is over-hyped because of his relationship to his father, the “headline seeking” LaVar Ball, and his brother Lonzo Ball who is a former 2nd overall pick that has been inconsistent in his short-career which has been plagued by injuries.
During NBL preseason action, LaMelo has averaged 16.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals through four games. The move to play overseas was made concerning Ball’s eligibility status for NCAA competition, because of his ties to his family’s reality show Ball In The Family and various endorsement deals pertaining to the show. Early on, the move looks to be paying off for Ball. The NBA has seen 113 players play in the NBL since the league’s inception in 1979, and last year saw a record 13 Australians compete in America.
You have to commend the youngest Ball for navigating the media drama associated with his family, to a point where it’s not affecting his long-term career aspirations as an NBA player. He has been juggled to different schools and around the world by his father in seasons past, which can be difficult for a teenager. The move to play in the NBL proves LaMelo has “balls” and won’t settle for anything less than a selection as a top pick in the draft. His father is a distraction many NBA teams will certainly shy away from, and his brother’s misfortunes aren’t doing anything to help the youngster.
The move is strategic, impressive, and intelligent because LaMelo is taking control of his life, while establishing himself as an individual worth scouting and possibly drafting as a Lottery pick. Some scouts seem to be agreeing with the take because he is shooting up draft boards, including one recently released by ESPN earlier today.
Amid the buzz, Bleacher Report has reported that Ball’s camp is currently negotiating a sneaker deal. Not too bad for a kid who is yet to be drafted. Hopefully, Ball will transcend his elder’s to reach stardom as a true NBA superstar. Until then, he should at the very least be commended for the “power” move to establish himself in NBL Australia.
Header Photo Credit: USA Today