Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Draft 2020 Prospect Profile: LaMelo Ball

Potential Minnesota Timberwolves prospect LaMelo Ball. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Potential Minnesota Timberwolves prospect LaMelo Ball. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Minnesota Timberwolves, LaMelo Ball
NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball defends. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images) /

LaMelo Ball NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Weaknesses

Ball’s primary issues are related to defense — shortcomings that would align him perfectly with the star players already on the Timberwolves roster.

Watch video of Ball from any game with the NBL’s Hawks, and you won’t wait long to see him behave exactly like current Wolves guard D’Angelo Russell defensively. And that isn’t a good thing.

All too often, Ball would give a solid effort on the ball until hit with a screen. Then, he either half-heartedly fights through the pick, sometimes getting a hand up to contest the shot, or he simply melts into the defender and gets lost in the wash, effectively being taken out of the play entirely.

When off the ball, Ball was frequently content to wander instead of getting into a defensive stance or preparing to jump passing lanes or help a teammate.

Ball’s combination of length, athleticism, and intelligence should make him, at the very least, an effective off-ball defender with the ability to disrupt the opposing offense. To this point, Ball has not demonstrated an interest in contributing defensively.

Similar to the aforementioned Russell, Ball has potential on that end of the floor. He’s bigger and more athletic than D’Lo, so there is theoretically even greater upside.

The other glaring weakness with Ball’s game is tied to his shooting efficiency. While he has solid touch, Ball’s 3-point shot was not consistent. He did improve as the 12-game season wound down in the NBL, but shot only 20-for-80 (25 percent) over the course of the campaign.

His shot motion isn’t consistent, either. Between Ball’s height and quick release, it’s fair to assume that his shot will work at the NBA level, but his footwork and balance aren’t always repeated properly.

Lastly, Ball’s shot selection has often been subpar. As with many top prospects, this is at least in part due to a lack of talent around him, but it’s always something to keep an eye on for young point guards as decision-making is obviously paramount to the success of someone orchestrating an offense.