Scouts express concerns about LaMelo Ball


LaMelo Ball of the Hawks during warmups

Tanner Coatsworth, Writer

LaMelo Ball, a name the basketball world has known since his highschool debut in 2015,When he shocked the world with his crossovers and jumpshots. A young starting point guard for the best high school basketball team in the nation, Chino Hills. The team was led by his older brother Lonzo Ball, who led them to a 35-0 record. LaMelo Ball was recently drafted with the third pick to the Charlotte Hornets, but scouts are questioning his fit in today’s league with his questionable shot selection to his talents on the defensive side of the court. 

Ball made his way back to the states after his year long trip to Australia, where he  played in the NBL on the Illawarra Hawks. There, he averaged 17 points per game (PPG) 6.8 assists (AST) and 7.6 Total Rebounds (TRB ) on 37 percent shooting. 

Ball is a once in a lifetime talent, with him currently standing at 6’8 as a pure point guard. The average height for a point guard is 6’-6’3. This is why half of the scouts think so highly on Ball. Myicha Drakeford, a writer at Basketball Society Online, speaks highly on LaMelo’s frame. LaMelo Ball is a 6’8 point guard with impressive ball handling skills and court vision coupled with his tall/slim frame,” Drakeford said, “He has the skill-set as a ball handler and passing acumen necessary to be a premier distributor at the next level. 

While in high school, Ball was regarded as one of the best three point shooters in his graduating class however, with his professional debut with the Hawks, he shot a mere 25% from beyond the arch. This percentage is mostly from Ball’s shot selection, which is an aspect of his game scouts frown upon. Ball was arguably the Hawks best player as soon as he touched the hardwood, and Ball  knew that, causing him to shoot 16.7 shots a game. 

“His shot selection will have to be better.” Drakeford said, “While Ball is generally looking for an open teammate, the shots he does choose to take aren’t always the best ones.” 

The NBA has been able to train incoming rookies, especially with shot selection. Look at Ball’s older brother, who has improved his entire shot selection as well as his form since his rookie season. 

Another reason why scouts are worried about Ball is his “Lackluster” on-ball defense. During his time with the Hawks, he had so much responsibility on the offensive side, he took defense plays off. Jacob Rude, a writer at LonzoWire/USAtoday showed some concerns with his defense in his article

“Can he embrace being the best defender he can be?” Rude said, “Can’t save yourself for offense like he did in Australia.” 

Ball’s defense is also pointed out in another scouting report. Writer Daniel Olinger at, writes about Balls weak defense. “On the following plays, he completely dozes off and lets his man waltz unimpeded towards the rim” Olinger said, “getting away with it the first time but getting burned on the second go around”. 

Ball’s skillset and body is something you can’t teach, which is exactly why scouts are calling him a rare player. 

“Let’s put it this way, Ball is a player that has all the skills that you can’t teach and plays like basketball is just in his DNA,” Eric Fawcett, a writer at NBAnews said. “You can’t teach Ball’s ability to get a defender rocking side to side, his understanding to set up his man before hitting him with the crossover, and the use of his eyes to misdirect weak side defenders.”

There’s no doubt that Ball is a very talented basketball player. We saw glimpses of a superstar while he played in the NBL. But scouts also saw the downsides, which is why they are questioning his transition to the league. Ball will be a good player, he just needs to adapt to the current NBA’s playstyle. Ball has the potential to have a very bright future with a long career ahead of him.