LaVar Ball preferred destination for LaMelo: Knicks or Pistons

New York Knicks, LaMelo Ball

LaVar Ball doubled down on his wish for his son LaMelo to end up with the New York Knicks.

Appearing on The Pascal Show on youtube last week, LaVar mentioned his preferred destination for LaMelo, a projected top-three pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

“I want him either in New York or Detroit,” LaVar said.

“It doesn’t matter where you go,” LaVar added. “The key is to have the right coach behind you.”

LaVar’s latest statement could be viewed as an endorsement of Tom Thibodeau and Dwane Casey as the ‘right coach’ for his youngest son.

 

The Knicks have recently hired Thibodeau as their new head coach for their latest rebuild, while the Pistons currently have Dwane Casey.

Both coaches have a history of coaching All-Star point guards in the league.

Thibodeau has coached Derrick Rose, who became the youngest MVP in the NBA while still in Chicago. On the other hand, Casey had molded Kyle Lowry into an All-Star when he was with the Toronto Raptors.

Both the Knicks and the Pistons are searching for a lead guard, and LaMelo is widely believed to be the best point guard in this draft.

LaMelo has earlier confirmed that he has interviewed with the Knicks before the Draft Lottery.

It’s also worth noting that LaMelo’s manager, Jermaine Jackson, is from Detroit. Jackson played and coached at Detroit Mercy and also had stints with the Pistons (1999-2000) and the Knicks (2005) as an undrafted NBA journeyman. Lamelo has been training in Detroit since March.

Recently, LaMelo has also met with the Minnesota Timberwolves as per Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The Timberwolves hold the No.1 pick in the Draft.

LaMelo is also expected to interview with the rest of the top four teams in the draft — Golden State Warriors (No.2), Charlotte Hornets (No.3), and Chicago Bulls (No.4).

The Knicks currently have the eighth pick while the Pistons are above them at seventh. Both teams have to trade up to have a shot at LaMelo. But there’s also a remote possibility that LaMelo will fall after rumors of his underwhelming team interviews began to float recently.

Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell shared the intel on Sports Radio WFNZ earlier this week.

“Here is what I’m hearing from the league at large: LaMelo Ball is not performing very well at job interviews,” Bonnel said.

“I’ve heard that from multiple sources. He is not improving his perception via job interview. There are people drafting later in the top ten who were not preparing for the possibility of Ball still being around. And I’m not saying that he will not be a top-three pick. I am saying that I know for a fact that there are teams later in the top ten who are doing more research on him because they no longer think it’s a given he will.”

LaMelo’s combination of size, ballhandling, and court vision has made him a projected lottery pick. But on the flip side, questions about his professionalism and shot selection have held him back from becoming the top consensus pick. And his reportedly underwhelming team interviews are not helping him.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

LaMelo Ball interviews with the Knicks but unsure if they’ll trade for him

New York Knicks, LaMelo Ball

The New York Knicks are still up in the air on LeMelo Ball: 

LaMelo Ball dreams of playing next season as the top overall pick.

“Ever since I was a little, when I’d do little projects and stuff, that was one of my goals — to go to the NBA and be the No.1 pick,” Ball said during his Draft Combine zoom call with the media.

Whether that dream will come true with the Minnesota Timberwolves or any team like the New York Knicks, will be known on Nov. 18.

Ball, the consensus top point guard in the Draft, declined to answer which NBA team has talked to him except when he was asked about the Knicks.

“Yeah, I feel like they’re just trying to get know me because there’s a whole lot of stuff out here that you won’t even know if it’s me or not,” Ball said.

When he was asked again if the Knicks did interview him, he had a curt reply: “Yeah.”

The Knicks conducted the interview before the NBA Lottery as noted by Newsday’s Steve Popper.

But when Ball was pressed more about the Knicks’ interest on him and if they’re willing to trade for him, he was careful not to divulge any more details.  

“That I don’t know.  Maybe, maybe not,” he said.

The Knicks currently own the eight pick and have interviewed other guards in the Draft including Killian Hayes, and RJ Hampton, two prospects who also played overseas like Ball.  They have also made their due diligence on Florida State U’s duo of Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams as well as Auburn’s Isaac Okoro. The Knicks are also divided on UNC’s Cole Anthony.

There’s no real indication whether the Knicks would trade up for Ball.  But if it’s up to LaMelo’s father, LaVar Ball, he wants his son to end up as a Knick and dreams of having all of his three sons play together in the mecca of basketball.

“Oh yes, to the end,” LaVar said in Say Less with Kaz podcast last June.

“They (Knicks) don’t have anything.  The last time they won a championship back in the 70s. The bright lights. You need a whole new turnaround over there. The person I want to see him play with, they got to know this, if you’re getting ‘Melo, you’re getting ‘Gelo […] And after that, you have a chance to get ‘Zo. You don’t need one person to change no franchise. You need the whole culture change and that takes all three of my boys […] That would be the biggest show in the NBA ever.”

LaMelo though doesn’t really care where he’ll end up. He could play next to D’Angelo Russell in Minnesota or become the third wheel of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State.

In the same podcast, LaVar said LaMelo and the Warriors are a bad fit.  But the projected top-three pick disagrees.

“My old man, he’s his own man.  He has his opinions and I have mine,” said the youngest of Ball brothers. “Like I said, I feel like I can play on any team.  Anywhere is a great fit. I feel positive anywhere I go. I feel I can make a good impact wherever I go.”

Way-too-early New York Knicks 2020 draft

The New York Knicks and the rest of the NBA have not started training camp.  But, sports networks can’t help themselves by getting out mock drafts for the 2020 draft.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony put out his mock draft of the top NBA prospects via their Intsagram.  He had the Knicks in the top 3, again, and selecting LaMelo Ball.  Ball currently is the point guard for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League (NBL).

Before fans overreact, which some may already done, it is just a mock.  A way-too-early mock.  Ball is getting a lot of hype from his play in the NBL.  Their league is currently still in the pre-season and he had 14 points in their debut.

Some even believe that Ball can potentially be the number one overall pick.

The skill set and talent is there, but with that comes extra baggage.  His father.  LaVar Ball will bring a lot of unwanted attention and distractions to whatever team his youngest son goes to.  We all saw how he acted and all the comments he had when LaMelo’s brother, Lonzo, was a Los Angeles Laker.  What makes you think it would be any different if LaMelo landed in New York, the other biggest basketball market.

However, lets not jump the gun here.  It only a mock and one to not be taken seriously before the latest NBA season has even begun.  But, basketball heads love it and can’t get enough of it.

In reality, even if the Knicks did have another top 3 pick and LaMelo was available, they would not select him.  His a 6’7″ point guard and the Knicks do not need anymore point guards.

The Knicks will be juggling 3-4 point guards this season as it is.  Why add another one?  But the main reason is the Knicks do not need anymore unwanted, outside distractions.  Especially, when they are finally moving in the right direction to turn around the franchises identity.