With a roster that is a piece or two away from being right back in the NBA’s championship picture, the Golden State Warriors should be an attractive option to the top prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The Dubs are guaranteed a top-five pick after finishing with the worst-record in the league, and have been linked to players like: Deni Avdija, Anthony Edwards, and Tyrese Haliburton.
One of the prospects who hasn’t been mentioned as a potential target for Golden State is point guard LaMelo Ball. The SF Chonricle’s Connor Letourneau reported earlier this month that the Dubs are higher on Haliburton:
“I’ve been told that (Tyrese Haliburton) has emerged as the No. 1 point guard on the Warriors’ board, Yes, above LaMelo Ball and Killian Hayes.”
LaMelo’s outspoken father, LaVar, chimed in with his thoughts (h/t NBC Bay Area):
“That’s the part I don’t like about Golden State,” LaVar said on the Say Less with Kaz podcast. “They got Klay and the other guys and now you want to put ‘Melo in that mix to say you got to follow these guys. ‘Melo ain’t no follower. He don’t need to do what they do, let them do they thing. There’s a reason you are looking at my son. He’s talented and can play the game. It ain’t that hard. Guy is open and you pass it to them. You open and you been working on your shot? Shoot the ball. It’s fast-paced, it’s good. But don’t be like ‘Melo got to his turn and wait for two or three years to go by and learn from the veterans. Ain’t about that. Can you play or not? And when you special, how do you coach somebody special? You just enjoy it and they special because of the things they do. Enjoy it. Let him do what he does.”
I finally agree with LaVar on something. LaMelo will not be good with Golden State.
Ball has the potential to be an elite playmaker in the NBA, and he has shown the ability to play against men after spending last season in the Australian league. He has great ball-handling skills, and a high basketball IQ, which is not surprising, considering his older brother is a former No. 2 overall pick.
The issue with Ball is his fit on the Dubs roster. He needs the ball in his hands often to maximize his skillset, something that won’t happen with Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson on the court. The Warriors need guys who can space the floor, something with be difficult with Ball. The 18-year-old shot just 38.9% from the field, and 27.9% from deep during his season overseas, and much like his older brother, his form needs to change in order for his shooting numbers to improve.
One more knock on Ball is his defense. Although he is a 6’8 point guard, he lacks the strength to be able to matchup against NBA players, especially on switches. Ball also has the tendency to get lazy on the defensive end, making some scouts question his commitment, per The Stepien.
Ball comes with a father who is a sideshow. If general manager Bob Myers does indeed select LaMelo —he knows LaVar will be lurking— ready to air any grievances he may have with the organization publicly.
To me, passing up on Ball at any point in the top-five is a no-brainer. If a team is enamored with the point guard, Myers can look at a trade down and pickup an asset for his troubles, while still having a shot at a player like Haliburton, or Isaac Okoro.
Ball would be better suited playing on a team like the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, or Charlotte Hornets, where he can be the ball-dominant primary playmaker each of those franchises needs.
What do you think of Ball’s potential fit with the Dubs? Do you think Myers should consider taking him with a top-five pick?
Thompson is reportedly looking great since being allowed to resume basketball activities. A former Warriors point guard says the long layoff will do Klay good in the long run. (h/t NBC Bay Area’s Drew Shiller)
The Dubs will have a couple of golden opportunities to add some high-end young talent thanks to high picks over the next few seasons. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie says the current group of young Warriors doesn’t offer a lot hope for the future.
One other asset Myers has at his disposal is the $17.2 million trade exception from the Andre Iguodala deal. Patrick Murray of Forbes looks at some potential targets for Golden State to go after with the exception.
The relationship between Kevin Durant and Green had its contentious moments. But, as Shiller writes, KD learned a few things from Dray, and Iguodala during their time together in the Bay Area.