And-Ones: LaMelo, Scouting, Pitino, Schedule Changes

LaMelo Ball is the top prospect for the 2020 draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. American fans haven’t seen much of the youngest Ball brother because he’s playing in Australia’s National Basketball League, but he’s making a strong impression on NBA scouts.

According to Givony, Ball’s assets include unusual size for a point guard at 6’7″, along with “impressive creativity, flair, poise and instincts operating off a live dribble.” He can pass with either hand and is especially skilled on the pick-and-roll. To improve his game, Givony believes Ball needs to become a more efficient scorer and show a stronger commitment to defense, but he still has the potential to become a franchise-altering player.

The rest of the top five includes Memphis center James Wiseman, Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, North Carolina guard Cole Anthony and combo guard R.J. Hampton, who is also playing in the ABL.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • This week normally marks the unofficial beginning of scouting season, but that’s changing because of the concept of “flight risk,” writes former league executive John Hollinger of The Athletic. Team officials who may be planning a trip to Australia to see Ball or Hampton in late December or January are taking the risk that they could shut down their seasons early to avoid injury if they believe their status as a high lottery pick is secure.
  • Some of the top players in Greece are refusing to play for the national team as long as Rick Pitino is the head coach of Panathinaikos, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Former NBA player Kostas Papanikolaou joined with Georgios Printezis and Antonis Koniaris to write a letter to the Greek federation, protesting Pitino’s recent return to their arch-rival and calling the situation “toxic.” Greece hasn’t earned a spot in the Olympics and will be part of a qualifying tournament in June.
  • Instead of making radical changes to the schedule and the playoffs, the NBA needs to do a better job of promoting its current product, contends Michael Lee of The Athletic. He observes that the league has large number of  “skilled, likable and marketable stars,” along with many international players to attract an overseas audience. Lee opposes a shortened schedule and an in-season tournament, and points out that reason behind declining ratings is that it’s easier than ever for fans to enjoy the league through highlights on social media without dedicating the time to watch a full game.
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13 thoughts on “And-Ones: LaMelo, Scouting, Pitino, Schedule Changes

  1. brian_james

    How are people writing scouting reports that say Ball can neither shoot nor defend while simultaneously projecting him as a top-3 pick? Scouts’ takes on him sound like a skinny Evan Turner

    • Jason Lancaster

      Because the draft is about potential, but not current skill level. Defense and shooting can be learned.

      • brian_james

        I’m well aware that the draft is about potential, but assuming a bad shooter will become a good one is a really bold assumption to be making. Not saying he can’t, but not everyone is like Kawhi

      • jump shot

        Learning to shoot isn’t a given. We all saw Simmons’ workout videos all summer and many probly thought he’d come out making jumpshots this season. And he wont even SHOOT. True… u can learn to shoot and defend – doesn’t mean you will actually be able to do it when its live lol. Ball will be ok if he becomes a (decent) shooter.

        • SumTingWong

          have you ever met him. ? you should not be commenting on someone’s father unless you’ve met him. you would not have the courage to stand face to face with him and tell him what you think of him. you would do well to STFU.

  2. Jason Lancaster

    When are teams going to realize that good college coaches usually aren’t good pro coaches. There are some examples of college coaches that have made it work, but for every Larry Brown or Brad Stevens there are a dozen guys that never find success.

    Coaching is hard to be sure, but pro teams need coaches with pro experience.

  3. paladin

    Not more of ”Ball in the Family”. Whoever picks him marries the Daddy too! I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. Vlade up in Sac town will grab him for sure. Always hurt, like Lonzo is my prediction.

  4. x%sure

    I don’t miss the fans skipping games to watch highlights, probably to watch what I would call lowlights.

    I think NBA commentators make the games on TV boring. I wish national BB broadcasters talked about the game more often instead of their own ramblings– or else ramble better! Like Jeff VanGundy being contrary.

    Cleveland’s pregame MC called Collin Sexton, Collin Jackson, while he ran out on the court wearing sunglasses. Actually that was funny. TV’s Austin Carr does follow the Cavs’ games but sometimes sputters.

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