The No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft may be up for grabs.
The Minnesota Timberwolves won the draft lottery back in August, but Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report cited a Western Conference executive who said word around the league is that the Timberwolves are “confused” and are not sold on any top prospects.
He added that if they do keep the No. 1 pick, LaMelo Ball likely has the edge over Anthony Edwards, but the team feels pressure after “messing up last year by trading for Jarrett Culver.”
This points to the realistic possibility that Minnesota could trade down the draft board on Nov. 18, opening the door for one of the other lottery teams to step move up to the top spot.
While this year’s draft seems to lack a consensus No. 1 pick, Ball arguably has the most potential and biggest upside in the class. However, there is also a belief among scouts that the 19-year-old point guard may not be a natural fit in Minnesota due to the presence of D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Ball’s father, the controversial and polarizing LaVar, certainly has his preferences on where he would like to see his youngest son play. He recently expressed skepticism about LaMelo being a good fit with the Golden State Warriors – who hold the No. 2 pick – and has previously hyped up the Knicks as being the best fit for his son prior to the NBA Draft lottery.
But the Knicks currently hold the No. 8 pick and LaMelo is expected to be well gone by that point in the draft. Should the Timberwolves look to trade down, though, perhaps the Knicks could re-enter the conversation.
LaMelo, the younger brother of Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball, has downplayed his father’s comments, though.
“My old man, he’s his own man. He has his opinions, I have mine,” LaMelo said, per the New York Post. “Like I said, I feel like I can play on any team and do good, wherever I go. Anything that happens, I’m positive.”
LaMelo has met with the Knicks in the pre-draft process before the combine, but has not confirmed if he has met with any other teams. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Timberwolves plan to meet with LaMelo, but have not scheduled anything yet.
LaMelo reportedly left the combine on Wednesday without interviewing with any teams.
The rest of the draft order behind the Timberwolves and Warriors is Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Washington and Phoenix.