| The Detroit News
Needless to say, LaMelo Ball has had an unusual few months of preparation leading up to the NBA draft. The pandemic has scuttled plans for most of the draft prospects, pushing the draft from June to November, with the potential to be delayed again if there are any more hiccups in the current process.
The NBA announced a revised process for the draft combine, with players able to work out in the practice facility near their home or training city. For Ball, that’s Detroit, where he’s been conducting his strength workouts since March.
Ball is projected as one of a top-three pick — likely not to be there at the Pistons’ spot at No. 7 — but most draft experts have him as a can’t-miss prospect, where there’s less known about the other players in the top 10.
It’s been a repeated question for Ball, who has been in the spotlight for most of his teenage years, from the Ball family reality show to his brother, Lonzo, to his outspoken father, LaVar. LaMelo has played professionally in Lithuania and Australia, where he’s been able to showcase his improving skill set while playing against older men, as he readies for the NBA.
Ball has grown to about 6-foot-7 and his game is tantalizing as a point guard with his size and court vision.
“Honestly, I’ve just been playing the game of basketball. Maybe height has to do with it because when I was little, it was probably more shooting but now I’ve gotten taller, so I can get more aggressive and go to the lane, to open up stuff,” Ball said Monday in a media teleconference Monday. “I always played up at a young age and just playing up will help you no matter what because you’re with the big people.
“Being a man, you’re going to learn different stuff besides playing with your age, so that helped me a lot just doing that.”
Ball said he’s adopted some of the mantra of “Detroit versus Everybody” in his mindset and his training. He’s also looking to make a name for himself on and off the court and not worrying about perceptions.
When asked about his father’s comment that LaMelo wouldn’t be a good fit with the Golden State Warriors, LaMelo fired back: “My old man is his own man. He has his opinions and I have mine. I feel like I can play on any team and do good anywhere I go.”
Ball said he hasn’t talked to many teams, as the process is just beginning to have individual video interviews with teams, as well as workouts that can be recorded in a “pro day” style.
That’s still to be determined in the coming weeks, but Ball is continuing to work on his game and to prepare himself for the rigors of the NBA, with a more muscular build and some added weight, which were two of the questions about his time overseas.