Potential No. 1 pick LaMelo Ball met with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday and is expected to soon meet with the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls, according to a report Thursday from ESPN. Minnesota holds the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and the Warriors, Hornets and Bulls hold the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 overall picks.
It's the first formal meeting Ball has conducted during the NBA Draft process due to restrictions related to the pandemic that were only recently relaxed earlier this month. After playing overseas in the NBL for the Illawara Hawks, he has garnered an immense amount of buzz as a top prospect because of his positional size, playmaking and long-term potential.
The 6-foot-7 point guard -- and younger brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball -- is rated as the No. 1 prospect on the CBS Sports Big Board. He struggled at times as an 18-year-old playing in the NBL last season, particularly shooting from outside, but a scout recently told CBS Sports that "there's many similarities" between he and his older brother, who last season emerged as a reliable presence for New Orleans in its backcourt.
Minnesota has a young core headlined by big man Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, the latter of whom the franchise traded for last summer to pair next to Towns. So fit-wise, Ball, a lead guard, isn't an ideal pairing next to Russell, who is a ball-dominant lead guard himself. But team president Gersson Rosas emphasized earlier this summer that the team will select the best player available regardless of fit or the state of the current roster.
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"I wouldn't rule out any player for us," he said in August. "For us, the reality is in this league, you don't get a chance to pick your elite superstar players and the way we look at the draft is a focus of getting the best talent available. Some of my experience personaly, some of the coaches experiences but you get the best talent that you can and you make it work."