New York Knicks: Why trading up for LaMelo Ball makes sense

Dec 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; A view of the Knicks logo on a players jacket during the national anthem prior to the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks will enter the 2020 NBA draft with picks to play with, and possibly use in a trade. NBA insider Chad Ford recently said on The Locked On Warriors Podcast that he could see the Knicks making a move to trade up in the draft if they fall in love with a top prospect, specifically LaMelo Ball. Ford said:

“I think there’s one team that I see out there that might be desperate to get up and really make some buzz, and that’s the Knicks… If the Knicks don’t get the number one pick in this draft, just given the trajectory of that franchise over the years, I could see them, they have some assets, they’ll still probably have a fairly high lottery pick, packaging all of that together to try to get up to make a big splash. And if there’s a guy that sort of makes sense in New York, it’s LaMelo Ball.”

LaMelo Ball is easily the most polarizing prospect in the draft, and while he’s not quite the consensus number one pick like Zion Williamson was last year, you won’t find a big board that has him outside the top 3.

LaMelo had his season in the Australian National Basketball League cut short due to injury, but it’s easy to see what makes him such an eye-popping prospect. He’s got other-worldly vision and awareness. He makes everyone around him better. His intangibles on offense are simply things you cannot teach.

LaMelo’s Untapped Potential

The flaws in LaMelo Ball’s game seem very coachable not just because of his basketball IQ but his physical profile. Ball is a 6’9 point guard. As he grows into his body and gains more strength I fully expect his defense to improve. At his size and with his athleticism, he could turn into a defender that can effectively guard 3 positions.

You will sometimes find a misconception about LaMelo Ball not being a good shooter because of his low percentages. While I don’t think Ball is an elite shooter just yet, he certainly has the potential. Ball is forced to take a lot of difficult shots on his team. Some of that is his own fault. He needs to work on his shot selection, he’s been prone to taking shots too early in the shot clock.

I like to compare Ball’s shooting to percentages to Luka Doncic’s percentages at Real Madrid before he was drafted into the NBA. Doncic, like LaMelo, loves to create and take shots off of the dribble. Doncic shot just 28% from 3 in his final season at Real Madrid, largely due to him being forced to take a lot of difficult shots. It’s a similar scenario with Ball.

Perfect Fit For The Knicks

The New York Knicks are in desperate need of a franchise point guard, and LaMelo Ball’s fit with the team makes too much sense. The Knicks’ offense has been stagnant all season long, and LaMelo Ball would be the jolt of firepower the team needs.

The Knicks hold 3 extra first-round picks in the next 3 years on top of their own, so don’t be surprised if they use one to move up in the draft to take the dynamic 18-year-old Ball.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: