The Toronto Raptors are known for creating positive drama around winning basketball and were crowned NBA Champions in 2019. At the 2020 NBA Draft, the management team of Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri want to avoid the drama that will come with drafting LaMelo Ball.
The only thing the Toronto Raptors have in common with LaMelo Ball is that they will be selecting 29th and 59th at the 2020 NBA Draft, and Lamelo Ball is one of at least 60 players the Toronto Raptors could select.
A curious rumor floated months ago that involved three teams, the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Golden State Warriors. The trade centers around Toronto are trying to move up in the 2020 Draft to acquire the services of LaMelo Ball.
There are many options the Toronto Raptors could consider on November 18th, 2020, to help restock their roster. Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri are probably devising plans on how to get players who can help the team right now.
The freezing of the salary cap at 109 million dollars probably hampers that plan of action for the 2020/21 season. However, the Toronto Raptors were champions in 2019 and one win away from an Eastern Conference Final in 2020.
LaMelo Ball does not fill an immediate need for the Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors only need a point guard under one scenario. That scenario is the departure of Fred Vanvleet in free agency this year. The organization would be left with 33-year-old Kyle Lowry at that position, and he is under contract for this coming season only.
If the Toronto Raptors’ management feels that they need a point guard of the future, it is a consideration that might influence their selections at the 2020 NBA Draft. However, it is unlikely that LaMelo Ball would be the player to fit the opening.
Why LaMelo Ball is not right for the Toronto Raptors
LaMelo Ball would not be right for the Toronto Raptors even if they decided that a point guard is their priority at the Draft. First, the Toronto Raptors are a contending team. Over the years, the organization has incorporated good young talents such as OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Norman Powell.
The problem with LaMelo Ball is he is included in a collection of talent available at the 2020 Draft that does not have a projected great upside. He is one of many players that could get drafted in the top five of this year’s draft or much lower. It’s not certain he could help the Toronto Raptors this season and maybe a long term project.
LaMelo Ball lacks skills the Toronto Raptors covet
LaMelo Ball has a short track record of stats to grade him by and what stats exist are not great. He has played 20 games in pro-leagues between Lithuania(2017/18) and Australia (2019/20). LaMelo Ball’s three-point shooting is not something the Toronto Raptors’ organization would be excited about. He has made only 25 percent of his three-point attempts as a professional basketball player.
His overall shot selection suggests he’s a volume shooter as he only made 37.5 percent of his 16.7 field-goal attempts per game for the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL in Australia. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com answered fan questions by suggesting:
"“one source described his shot as ‘broken’ and another questioned his care level on defense…”"
These issues alone mean he is a project who will need time to develop. The Toronto Raptors value shooting and defense highly, and LaMelo Ball needs work.
LaMello Ball may be uncoachable
The Toronto Raptors system places a high value on good shooters, and that’s not LaMelo Ball. Further compounding a fit in Toronto, if the Toronto Raptors traded up in the draft to acquire him, is he is unwilling to change his shooting mechanics.
In addition to the issue of not having a large sample size to judge his play on, NBA scouts, managers, and coaches will have to deal with a player unwilling to adjust and work on his game.
Should the Toronto Raptors be willing to spend a draft pick on LaMelo Ball, his personality suggests he could be more trouble than he is worth.
Lavar Ball would create unwanted drama for the Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors would have to immediately have a conversation with LaVar Ball, the player’s father, to get him to stay out of the team’s affairs. This was the case when the Los Angeles Lakers drafted LaMelo’s brother Lonzo Ball.
When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Lamelo’s older brother, father LaVar Ball would constantly undermine and disparage Lakers head coach Luke Walton back then. The Ball family has had its share of public drama from a web series called “Ball in the family” to the family business’ failures and legal trouble surrounding “Big Baller Brand.”
The Toronto Raptors pride themselves on acquiring not only talented basketball players, but one’s with stable personalities.
Over the years, the Toronto Raptors have had problems with their players getting involved with the wrong side of the law or causing team chemistry problems like Dee Brown, Hedo Turkoglu, T.J.Ford, and recently, Terence Davis. However, there are warning signs already with LaMelo Ball’s dedication to improving and focusing on the game of basketball and he hasn’t even played a game in the NBA yet.
Finally, back in 2017, when his oldest son Lonzo Ball was drafted, LaVar Ball insisted it had to be the Los Angeles Lakers. He got his wish then. It is unclear if the Ball family’s patriarch would be happy with his youngest son playing in Toronto.
LaMelo Ball would bring unwanted drama that he might not have any control over anyway.
The proposed deal does not make sense for the Toronto Raptors
Ultimately, the proposed deal does not make sense for the Toronto Raptors. The trading of Kyle Lowry to acquire the Golden States Warriors’ pick in the draft, second overall, is an admission by Raptors’ management that they are in rebuilding mode and no longer contending.
The Toronto Raptors just came off a season with their highest ever winning percentage at .736 and were one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals.
Further, should Toronto trade Kyle Lowry, the team’s heart and soul, it means they may be all in on re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet. This means LaMelo Ball would be coming off the bench. The deal proposed also makes no sense for the Golden State Warriors, who have a healthy and future hall-of-Famer at the point guard spot in Stephen Curry.
The only reason the top picks in the 2020 Draft would be offered in trade is that the available talent quality is poor. The Raptors would be wise to consider all their options and work out guards available in the draft. Their focus should not be to target LaMelo Ball, the next NBA member of a basketball family, which is more hype than talent.