And-Ones: LaMelo, MVP Votes, Warriors, Fratello

LaMelo Ball doesn’t mind a little campaigning in his effort to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, writes Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. The buzz around Ball continues to grow as he strings together impressive performances in Australia’s National Basketball League. Over the weekend, he became the first NBL player since 2005 to post back-to-back triple doubles.

“Most definitely,” Ball responded when asked whether he thinks he should be the first pick. “I believe in myself and I’ve worked hard to get here. The other guys at the top of the draft, James [Wiseman] and Anthony [Edwards], are very talented too. But just in the way I believe in myself, I think I’m the top pick.”

Several scouts were in New Zealand recently to watch Ball go up against another projected lottery pick in R.J. Hampton. Many came away impressed, with one scout saying, “The fact that he’s putting up numbers like this in a league full of former NBA players is forcing every team to look at him as a potential No. 1 pick.” 

Ball addressed rumors that he might end his season early to protect his health for the draft. He insists he’s “committed to the whole season,” even though his team is off to a 3-9 start.

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

  • Roughly a quarter of the way into the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo is in good position to repeat as MVP, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. In a poll of 101 media members, Antetokounmpo received 48 first-place votes and was the only player listed on all the ballots. LeBron James (29 first-place votes), Luka Doncic (14) and James Harden (nine) were next in line.
  • Declining ratings continue to be a concern, and the NBA has started taking action to address the problem. One solution is fewer national TV games for the Warriors, who have the NBA’s worst record after five years as its marquee team. Golden State’s next two scheduled ESPN games have been replaced, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who speculates that more are likely to be removed.
  • Former NBA coach and long-time broadcaster Mike Fratello will be back on the sidelines soon, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Fratello will serve as head coach for USA Basketball in February’s qualifying games for the FIBA AmeriCup.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the China controversy today, saying a “culture clash” was almost inevitable, tweets Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. NBA games haven’t returned to China Central Television, the main broadcaster in Mainland China, but they are back on Tencent, which Silver called a “thawing” in tensions (Twitter link).
  • Sources tell Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that March 20 has been set for the debut of the NBA’s Basketball Africa League (Twitter link). The first game will take place in Dakar, Senegal.
  • The NBA will consider allowing corporate investors to hold passive minority stakes in more than one team, tweets Alex M. Silverman of MorningConsult. The measure will be part of the agenda at April’s Board of Governors meeting.
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24 thoughts on “And-Ones: LaMelo, MVP Votes, Warriors, Fratello

  1. hiflew

    Ball has good stats, but his team is 3-9. All that shows is that he is just as selfish as he was in Lithuania. I wouldn’t want him on my team, even without his idiot dad.

    Yes, record is a team stat, but a #1 overall pick should be able to tilt the team toward wins more than that. If he can’t win in Australia, how is he going to win in the NBA?

    • LordBanana

      Plenty of all stars have been on college teams that did nothing, and the Australian league is way higher quality.

        • LordBanana

          There’s 350 divison 1 teams, any halfway competent team with him would be way over 500. Harden didnt even make the tournament.

          • jump shot

            Good stuff! I like him as a player, but if he’s the top guy it’s not a strong draft. That said, I didn’t think you could come up with many (if any) nba stars that played on sub .400 college teams lol. And, its ok – I know your point.

              • jump shot

                Lol! I wouldn’t expect you to. When the first thing that comes to you is Harden not making the tourney, that lets you know there aren’t many (again, if any) nba stars who came from below-average (record wise) college teams lol! Young ‘Melo comes across to me as a kid who will remember too many sets, so he better go to a team that just gets up and down or is p/r heavy in hc. If not, I think he’ll struggle.

    • amk3510

      How on earth can you judge his team record in Australia. Do you even know the skill level of his teammates?

      • hiflew

        Besides, this is not baseball or football we are talking about here. One guy can totally turn around a team’s record. A player that is the caliber of a #1 overall NBA pick should be able not only dominate the stat sheet in an up and coming league like Australia, but should be able to win most games almost single handedly.

        Unless, of course, he is nothing more than a ball hog chucker.

        • jump shot

          I agree. There’s a bunch of levels of #1 picks. Ball is no Zion just like Zion is no LeBron. Ball is not a game-changer nor a franchise changer. Australia, as much as it wants to be, isnt the AAA system of the nba. Dominating there really doesn’t mean sh*t, if the scouts were honest. There’s NO player in the G-League who is #1 pick talented, yet, if Ball played in the G-League today he wouldn’t be one of the top 10 players in that league. Somehow, Australia has convinced some that their alternative league is THE place to prepare for the nba. It wasn’t that 5 years ago and its the same league today. Lol! A couple sexy names has folks drinking the kool-aid.

  2. julyn82001

    So now that the Warriors aren’t winning then they won’t be broadcasted. Life, like is sports, is about winning no doubt…

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Their game on Christmas against the Rockets will be a blowout so there’s no point in showing it on national TV. And as far as the MVP vote goes, having Harden in 4th is a total joke.

      • Rocket32

        harden-westbrook-mvps Enjoy the Rockets wins now, we all know Harden and Westbrick will choke as usual when it matters most. And don’t worry, GS will be back to owning Houston by next season. Good to see that even in a year where they are decimated by injuries and not even contending that they are still living rent free in the heads of Rockets fans.

      • amk3510

        Harden is not better than Giannis. Harden is not better than Anthony Davis or Lebron. Harden is not even better than Kawhi.

      • Dodgethis

        You’re right, harden and his fake points from flopping shouldn’t be anywhere near an mob conversation. Possibly the most overrated player in NBA history.

  3. Thuggababyy

    “League full of former NBA players” is very generous. I looked at the rosters, it’s pretty bare

  4. x%sure

    Headline: Lamelo Ball, who’s ballin’, who’s not ballin’, and BAL. Which could mean Baltimore as well as Basketball Africa League.

  5. osonvs

    Don’t really see the hype around this kid. Field goal percentage of 37%, 25% from three. He may turn into a decent NBA player but I really don’t see how he’s being considered for the #1 overall pick.

  6. IslandFlava

    LaMelo is a beast & he will be the #1 pick the only other option is Wiseman… though he was pretty dense to go to college, always a bad move & in his case will cost him the #1 as he will hardly play.

  7. IslandFlava

    For the MVP right now IMO
    1) Giannis & Doncic tied up
    3) Harden
    4) KAT
    5) LBJ
    6) AD

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