LaMelo Ball’s basketball journey in the land Down Under hasn’t even started, yet basketball experts are already predicting where the youngest son of the BBB brothers stacks up in next year’s NBA Draft.

Earlier this week, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype released the first aggregate mock draft for the class 2020 in which Ball is predicted to be a lottery-to-late first-round draft pick.

7-foot-1 big James Wiseman, 6-foot-5 wing guard Anthony Edwards and 6-foot-3 point guard Cole Anthony figure out as the top-three prospects; however, the lack of a stand-out talent in this particular class makes it hard for draft experts to predict how next year’s draft will shakeup.

Ball’s current position in the aggregate mock draft would be a solid example of the unpredictability of the 2020 Draft Class. While Bleacher Report, CBS, NBA.com rated Lamelo as a future lottery selection (from No.4 to No.9), SB Nation, Rookie Wire, ESPN and Sports Illustrated put him somewhere between mid to late first-round with pick no.27 set as his draft floor.

Ball’s decision to skip college and pursue a professional track abroad, specifically with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL, might have some effect on his volatile draft stock.

Fortunately for NBL-bound teenage pro-players like Ball and RJ Hampton, who is also viewed as a highly-rated prospect, they still have plenty of time to improve their current standings. They will be under the microscope in Australia, as NBA teams are expected to send scouts there to monitor their performance with their respective ball clubs throughout the course of the NBL season.

Claim to No.1

SB Nation, which initially rated Ball at No.19, posted an article a month ago explaining why the 2020 NBA Draft Class could end up with a surprising draft pick when all said and done.

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The piece also said that with the absence of clear-cut frontrunner in this upcoming draft, a Zion Williamson-liked breakout season for any of these prospects (from No.1 to No.30), including Ball, would catapult them to the top of the class.

Here’s what the SB Nation article had to say about Ball and his potentially game-changing decision to play abroad:

“While his brother, Lonzo, has long been regarded for his superior basketball mind, the youngest Ball brother is defined by poor shot selection and a tendency to go for the highlight-reel play over the sensible one.

His year in Australia could be the best thing that ever happened to him if he’s forced to use his 6’7 frame to make an impact as a defender and functional passer,” writes Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation.

Expecting for Greatness

Ball’s looming arrival in the NBL as part of the league Next Stars program will come with enormous attention from the media. Given that Ball is already a most-sought prospect in the US, not to mention an established reality star, his stay with the Illawarra Hawks will be closely watched out almost 24/7.

Matt Flinn, who is entering the first year of head coaching duties with the Hawks, shrugs off the pressure of having Ball around. In fact, he’s already expecting great things from the 6-foot-7 guard whom he viewed an NBA-ready talent.

“I’m confident I can keep it about basketball and on the floor. There will obviously be certain other things surrounding it, he’s a celebrity athlete but he’s a really respectful kid.

He’s got enormous talent but I did talk to him about the level he’s coming into,” Flinn speaks to Illawarra Mercury.

It’s going to be a frantic season for all these NBA hopefuls, as they race for the No.1 spot. Ball, with the attention of the world on him, will be under constant pressure in the NBL. It’s now up to him if he will fall apart and rise to the occasion as a prospect worthy of being called early in the 2020 NBA Draft.

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