Just how realistic are the LaMelo Ball to Warriors rumors?

By Vincent Frank
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Dealing with a rash of injuries we’ve scarcely seen around the NBA world, the five-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors are among the worst teams in the Association.

Golden State is currently on pace to lose 68 games. It would represent one of the worst regressions in terms of records in NBA history. It also has the Warriors with a real good chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

What this means: Teenage sensation LaMelo Ball could very well be a top pick when the draft comes calling. The Warriors have been linked to him more than any other team. There’s certainly a reason for this.

Ball fits the Warriors’ scheme: Standing at 6-foot-6, the 18-year-old point guard boasts a high level of upside and will only grow into his already budding fame.

  • Currently playing in the Australian National Basketball League, Ball is dominating lesser competition as a teenager.
  • The Southern California native is averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. He’s also shooting a robust 40% from three-point range.
  • It goes without saying that this outside shooting ability and Ball’s length would fit with the likes of injured stars Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

Golden State’s reload plan: This is no small thing. The Warriors have solid youngsters on their roster. Ball would only add to that.

  • Still only 23 years old, D’Angelo Russell is looking every bit the star for Golden State with Thompson and Curry sidelined to injury.
  • The Warriors made out like bandits with the selection of Eric Paschall in the second-round of the 2019 NBA Draft. He leads all rookies in points, rebounds, field goals and free throws. That’s stunning.
  • Adding an 18-year-old player of Ball’s ilk would help Golden State become relevant again, even once Curry and Thompson are past their primes.

The hiccups: Golden State’s organization is like others that have sustained success: They don’t want the drama.

  • We saw some drama derail the Warriors’ dynasty when Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into it last season, leading to Durant’s departure in free agency.
  • While LaMelo wouldn’t bring drama himself, there’s this guy named LaVar Ball who is nothing but drama.
  • Is that what the Warriors’ brass would be willing to welcome should they have an opportunity to draft the youngest of the three Ball children? We’re not too sure.

Options are unlimited: If the Warriors were to nab the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, there’s a chance they don’t select a player.

  • This is no small thing. Golden State rightfully believes that once Thompson and Curry return healthy, it will be right back up there as a legit title contender.
  • Given how much more improved the likes of the Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks and Rockets are in the Western Conference, that might not be enough.
  • It’s in this that rumors continue to fly suggesting that Golden State could look to move this pick for a proven veteran star.
  • One scenario has the Warriors adding Giannis Antetokounmpo in a trade with the Bucks. Said deal would have to include this 2020 pick, Russell and other moving parts.
  • No matter how good Ball might be, the idea of teaming Giannis up with Thompson and Curry would be too hard to pass up on.

Bottom line: A lot can happen between now and June’s draft. Once the Warriors get Curry back, they’ll be much more competitive. A core group of Curry, Green and Russell likely isn’t nabbing the top pick. Hello, Knicks!

With that said, there’s a lot to the idea that these Warriors are taking a gap year. Get Curry and Thompson healthy. Make sure Green is rested. Come back at full strength next season.

That could include adding to the team’s young core with Ball. It could also include moving said pick for a star.

So rumors of Ball landing in San Francisco make sense. They are also pretty darn premature at this point.