If there’s one word that could sum up the state of the NBA right now, it’s confusion. No one knows when next season is going to start, nor how the official offseason is going to work if opening night is moved up to a pre-Christmas date. Likewise, there’s no clarity at all about the 2020 NBA Draft, aside from the fact that it’s being held on Nov. 18.
As for who’s going to go No. 1, or even the players that could round out the top three, that’s anyone’s guess. One potential option is 19-year-old point guard LaMelo Ball, who is currently projected to be the top pick in the most recent mock drafts from both Kyle Boone and Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.
While that may end up being the case, Ball is apparently having some trouble with the pre-draft process. He’s struggled in interviews, and teams later in the top 10 are taking a closer look in case he slips, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, who gave an interview to WFNZ Radio in Charlotte:
Here is what I’m hearing from the league at large: LaMelo Ball is not performing very well at job interviews. 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.
Having only turned 19 a few months ago, Ball is one of the youngest players in the draft, and we’ve seen at various points over the years on social media and on the Ball family’s reality TV show that he’s not always the most mature person around. So if teams haven’t been thrilled with his professionalism, that wouldn’t be the most shocking thing. In fact, it wouldn’t even be the first time it’s come up, as a GM told Jeff Goodman of Stadium earlier this year that he’s worried about Ball’s maturity level.
At the same time, you can’t just blindly accept every single report that comes out around draft time. While it may be the truth, rumors like this usually get leaked for a reason. A team lower in the top ten could be poisoning the well to get teams ahead of them to pass on Ball — the Knicks, perhaps? — or it may even be Ball’s own camp trying to get him to a more preferable situation.
In any case, it’s another interesting bit of information worth considering, and only adds to the intrigue around this draft. The combination of no clear cut top prospect, and the Timberwolves and Warriors being open to trading the first two picks means we could be in for the most surprising draft night in years.