LaMelo Ball Shut Down For Rest Of NBL Season

Despite initial optimism that he’d return before the end of the season from the foot injury that sidelined him last month, top prospect LaMelo Ball won’t play any more games for the Illawara Hawks, manager and trainer Jermaine Jackson told Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia.

According to Jackson, Ball is now healthy after dealing with a bone bruise in his foot, but would require several weeks of training and rehab before he’s cleared to return to game action. Australia’s National Basketball League concludes its regular season on February 14 and the 5-17 Hawks won’t make the playoffs, so the team isn’t pushing Ball to return.

Many NBA decision-makers didn’t have a chance to evaluate Ball in person during his time in Australia, but weren’t surprised by the decision to shut him down to avoid the risk of further injury, says Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Ball averaged 17.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.8 APG in the 12 games he did play in the NBL, boosting his stock and making himself a contender for the No. 1 overall pick in 2020. However, he struggled with his shot (.377 FG%, .250 3PT%) and there are still concerns related to his “reportedly erratic work ethic,” according to Givony, who did note that some scouts believe the 18-year-old is the most talented prospect in the 2020 draft class.

One NBA scouting executive who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com gave a mixed review on Ball’s time with the Hawks, suggesting that he prefers James Wiseman as a potential top pick.

“(Ball’s) got everything you’d like to see in a point guard because he is so big,” the exec said. “He is probably going to be 6’8″ and that kind of size, that sets you apart. … [But] there are times if you watch him where it looks like he is collecting his own numbers and not helping the team win. For a point guard, you don’t want to see that.”

Ball is currently the top prospect on ESPN’s big board, followed by Georgia’s Anthony Edwards and Wiseman.

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10 thoughts on “LaMelo Ball Shut Down For Rest Of NBL Season

  1. The shooting percentages alone wouldn’t scare me off, but an erratic work ethic and/or playing to his top line stats might. That’s “learned” behavior, and its where being LaVar Ball’s son hurts him.

  2. hiflew

    5-17 in a minor league. Sheesh. I guess he would be a good pick for a team at the start of a rebuild because he can pretty much guarantee a high draft pick next year too.

    • While shooting 37% from the field and 25% from 3. How this guy is considered a “top prospect” is beyond me…

        • hiflew

          The biggest problem now is that people look for the “athletic stats” ahead of the “basketball stats.” Height, wingspan, and jumping ability do you little good if you can’t shoot the basketball. You need basketball players on your team not track and field stars. I’m not saying you should ignore those athletic stats, and focus on basketball stats, because then you end up picking guys like Adam Morrison and Jimmer Fredette. But you need some kind of happy medium.

  3. SumTingWong

    all comments aside whether they be positive or otherwise. we need to remember that he is just a kid, barely 18. & those who make less than positive comments would probably be first in line to get his autograph should they have the opportunity to meet him in person

    • hiflew

      Not only d I have no desire to have his autograph, I have no desire to meet him in person. I saw his complete lack of character when he used racist language on live television a couple years back. I’m not one of those people that is going to fawn over someone just because they are famous. If you are a bad person when you’re anonymous, you are the same bad person when people know your name.

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