In any NBA Draft it might difficult to assess a player like LaMelo Ball, who departed in the midst of his high school career to play for pay in Lithuania, a Los Angeles minor league team his father, LaVar, created, and finally to Australia.
But add in the odd circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving him unable to visit with teams, to interview in person or work out individually with any team. And still, he is forecast to be among the top three picks in the draft - possibly No. 1 overall.
"I feel like [teams are] trying to get to know me because there’s a whole lot of stuff out there that doesn’t really, you won’t even know if it’s me or not," Ball said in a Zoom Call with league media. "So pretty much [teams are] just getting to know me, I feel like. All the stuff in the media, how I am, they just want to know."
Among those teams were the Knicks, one of the only teams he would admit he had spoken with. But that was prior to the NBA Draft Lottery when the Knicks fell to No. 8 overall - likely taking them out of the running for his services unless new team president Leon Rose is able to trade up.
Asked what meant by teams wanting to know how he is, he clarified, "All the stuff in the media and stuff on how I am. Pretty much, just they want to know me." He said that is what the Knicks officials spoke with him about and when asked if he thought the Knicks would be a good fit for him - a point that his father has stressed earlier this summer - he said, "Any team I go to would be the perfect fit or a good fit, so yeah."
The 6-7 point guard played in only 12 games in Australia before suffering a foot injury and heading back home. He averaged 17 points, 6.8 assists and 7.6 rebounds. Some scouts have criticized his shooting motion, but he said he is not interested in changing it.
Ball did seem to separate himself from the comments of his father - something his older brother, Lonzo, did after starting his career with his father making bold declarations and signing him to his own Big Baller sneaker brand. Lonzo, now on his second team in New Orleans after a rocky start with the Lakers as the No. 2 overall pick, has ditched his father’s brand and found his place as a much quieter, calmer personality than his father.
LaVar Ball earlier said that he didn’t think that LaMelo would fit with Golden State, who have the No. 2 overall pick. But LaMelo squashed that talk.
"My old man, he’s his own man. He has his opinions, I have mine," LaMelo Ball said. "Like I said, I feel like I can play on any team and do good, wherever I go. Anything that happens, I’m positive."
That pick has been rumored to be available in a trade with the Golden State in position they believe to contend again after an injury-riddled season left them with the worst record in the league. Ball would not reveal if he had spoken with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the No. 1 overall pick, but he said that going first overall is a goal for him.
""Ever since I was little," he said, "when you’d do little projects and stuff, that was one of my goals, to go to the NBA and be a No.1 pick."