Lady Luck hasn’t been too kind to the Charlotte Hornets over the years, at least in terms of the NBA Draft Lottery. What if she finally smiles on the Queen City and the team lands a top-three pick? Could LaMelo Ball fit with the Hornets?
I know it may sound crazy, but it’s not out the realm of possibility for the Charlotte Hornets to land the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. It’s a long shot, for sure, but it’s there. A 6% chance is certainly better than say, winning the lottery or yours truly winning American Idol.
Knowing Charlotte, though, that would never, ever happen, as any fan of the team knows that the Hornets haven’t exactly been the luckiest when it comes to all things draft related. That tide might be turning with Mitch Kupchak making the decisions, but prior to that, there wasn’t a lot to write home about.
So, what if that No. 1 overall pick is out of reach? That doesn’t mean the top-five or even top-three is out of the question. Right now, the Hornets have a 26% chance to land a top-five pick and a 19% chance to land a top-three. All I’m saying is that stranger things have happened.
What if a miracle on East Trade Street were to happen and the Charlotte Hornets were blessed with a top-three pick? Would LaMelo Ball be worth it?
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Let’s play best-case scenarios and say they do get a top-three pick. All eyes on are on big men like James Wiseman, but what if he’s gone by the third pick? There are other bigs, sure, but what if you draft purely on the best player available?
LaMelo Ball seems to be a consensus top-three and if his brother, Lonzo, is anything to go by, he’d certainly be worth taking a look at. LaMelo is a very talented player and at 6’8″, could potentially play multiple positions, though he does primarily play the point.
Averaging 17 points and 7 assists for Illawarra in the Australian Basketball League, Ball is very much like his brother; a passer first, but with the ability to score if he can get it going. He’s not a lights-out shooter, making just 38% of his shots from the field, but he does have a tendency to take bad or contested shots. This could improve, of course, as it has with his brother.
Despite his height, he’s not the best defender, but at the point guard position, he has enough size with which he could guard most players at that spot. At 180 pounds, he is woefully undersized for his frame.
Should he put on more muscle, he could potentially defend the two and three with some success. He still needs to put more emphasis on committing to defense, though, as he can be lackadaisical at times.
Athletically, he’s still trying to figure it out and needs to grow into his body and if he can develop his lower body more, his explosiveness will improve, which he’ll need in order to get around quicker, smaller defenders.
At just 19 years old, he still has room to grow and get better and his potential is through the roof. He does come with a little baggage, though, but a lot of that is based on how you view his father, Lavar. This, coupled with their ongoing television show, may bring a media circus to the locker room and that can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint.
On one hand, it gives the Charlotte Hornets some much-needed notoriety, but there could be distractions or drama at times. That’s not even mentioning whether or not he’d even fit within James Borrego’s system, especially with an already established point guard in Devonte’ Graham.
Still, it would probably be the most interesting pick in years for the Hornets and if their other targets are gone and he’s there, why not? At the very least, he would be great trade fodder as many teams picking after Charlotte would love to have him.
If all of this happens, I say take a chance. The Hornets have lacked star power for years. Even Kemba Walker, their greatest player ever, wasn’t as big of a draw as LaMelo could be. That was mainly due to Kemba’s humble nature, of course, but having one of the Balls on the roster would sell jerseys.
I doubt any of this will happen, obviously, as that oh-so-familiar 9th pick seems to be what the team is destined for. It is fun to imagine or dream, though, and as I said before, you never know. Perhaps the Charlotte Hornets’ luck will change and they can add some star power to their team once again.
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