There does not seem to be an overwhelming consensus on this year’s No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, but LaMelo Ball has good reason to believe it should be him.
“I feel like I’m born for this,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old is certainly in the conversation. He has been hyped up since his early high school days – thanks in part to viral videos and his boisterous father – and spent the last year in Australia to prepare himself for the NBA – averaging 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in 16 games before an injury cut his season short.
Ball, a 6-foot-7 guard, is lauded by scouts for his fundamentals, ball-handling skills and ability to act as a facilitator in an offense. His already high profile gives teams the chance to market a potential star-in-the-making as well.
“I feel like I’m just the right man for [the No. 1 pick],” he said. “Like I said, I feel like I’m born for this whole thing going on, so that’s pretty much my answer right there.”
The Minnesota Timberwolves entered Wednesday with the No. 1 overall pick, but multiple reports indicate they could trade out of that slot. That opens the door for several teams to move up and try and take Ball.
The Golden State Warriors pick second, followed by the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively.
LaMelo’s father, LaVar, has suggested his son would best fit with the Detroit Pistons or New York Knicks – who pick seventh and eighth, respectively, but a trade to move up is not out of the question, especially with the Knicks, who hold two first-round picks.
Despite his father’s preferences, LaMelo has expressed in the past he is ready to play anywhere – and the pressure of being the potential No. 1 pick does not faze him.
“I don’t look at anything like that as pressure,” he said. “It’s just basketball. So, being the No. 1 pick definitely holds a lot, but I’m glad I was born for it.”