The NBA Draft Lottery may not be until August 25, but that doesnâ€™t mean we wonâ€™t see our fair share of New York Knicks draft rumors from now until then. Theyâ€™ve already begun to circulate with the Knicks not participating in the Orlando NBA restart later this month, as teams speculate that top prospect LaMelo Ball and members of his circle want him to end up in New York, according to Ian Begley of SNY:
As teams do their homework on players in the draft, thereâ€™s been a consistent theme about LaMelo Ball: multiple teams believe Ball and those in his circle prefer that he lands in New York. (Those teams have picks projected later in the first round than the Knicks, for what itâ€™s worth.)
The Knicks currently have just a 9 percent chance to get the first overall pick and 37.2 percent chance to land in the top four. If they wanted Ball, however, they would likely need to land a top-three pick at least. They do have assets to trade up if they so choose, such as the Clippers first-round pick and the Mavericks 2021 and 2023 first-round picks, but it remains to be seen if thatâ€™s what they would do.
Ballâ€™s outspoken father, Lavar, has never been shy to express his opinion and has made it known multiple times that he wants his son on the New York Knicks. The most recent time was during an appearance on the â€˜Say Less with Kazâ€™ podcast last month, where Lavar explained why he felt the Knicks were an ideal landing spot for not only LaMelo but all three of his sons:
They donâ€™t have anything. The last time they won a championship was back in the 1970s. The bright lights, you need a whole new turnaround over there. The person I want to see (LaMelo) play with â€“ he can play with anybody. I want to see him play (with), they got to know this â€“ if you getting Melo, you getting Gelo (LiAngelo Ball). That boy shoot the heck out of that ball. Play with chemistry with (LaMelo) better than everybody ever. And after that you have a chance to get â€˜Zo (Lonzo Ball). You donâ€™t need one person to change no franchise. You need a whole culture change, and that takes all three of my boys. All three of my boys on the same team? Who ainâ€™t going to watch that show? That would be the biggest show in the NBA ever.
Lavarâ€™s confidence in his boys is admirable, but the prerequisites heâ€™s demanding could give the Knicks or any team pause about drafting his son. Lavar brings with him a lot of drama and bad press if he doesnâ€™t get what he wants, and the last thing the Knicks need is more of that. Wanting the Knicks to bring in all three of the Ball brothers is a lot to ask for and could disrupt their own plan on how to build the roster.
Lonzo Ball is a member of the New Orleans Pelicans and is in the third year of his rookie contract. Heâ€™s set to be a restricted free agent in 2021, which means the Pelicans have the right to match any offer the Knicks might make. LiAngelo Ball is a member of the Oklahoma City Blue in the G League, so heâ€™ll be much easier to sign, but the Knicks might not see him as talented enough for the roster.
The New York Knicks would be a great fit for LeMelo Ball
However, if the Knicks are on board or work out some kind of compromise, then LaMelo Ball could be a fantastic fit. Standing at 6â€™8â€ and just over 180 lbs, Ball possesses superb size for the position. He also has excellent court vision and passing ability, as he possesses rare playmaking traits for someone his age. Heâ€™ll need to become a more consistent shooter and better defender, but the potential is there in both areas. Ball has tremendous upside and all the tools to be the franchise point guard the Knicks have been desperately lacking for a long time.
In 12 games for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League in Australia, Ball averaged about 17 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals in just over 31 minutes a game. He shot 37.5 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three.
Now, as enticing as Ball is, the Knicks still need the lottery luck in order to land him despite all the rumors. Plus, the talk of him wanting to be a Knick is nothing new for fans as similar rumors surfaced with Zion Williamson last year and with Stephen Curry back in 2009, among others. The team did reportedly have Ball ranked as their top point guard in the draft, but it remains to be seen whether or not Leon Rose and his new front office will be aggressive in getting their guy if they arenâ€™t in position to pick him.