LaMelo Ball is expected to miss four weeks with a bruised foot according to ESPN. The youngest Ball brother is currently averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists for the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian NBL. Over the last few months he has played himself into the conversation to be the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
According to ESPN, he just needs rest and is expected to play as soon as he's healthy. The question is, why? Just so scouts can see him play Australian basketball in person? If he's currently the possible top pick, how much could sitting out possibly hurt him? Would he fall out of the top 3? The top 5? The top 10? This makes just as little sense as Zion Williamson playing at Duke. It's neat, but what good can really come from it?
Remember all the nonsense surrounding Lonzo being drafted by the Lakers and LaVar wanted all three of his sons in Los Angeles? Well, Lonzo has already been shipped to New Orleans where he's missed a handful of games for a bad team. Does the universe want LaMelo and Lonzo on the same NBA team? Well, who knows how to work that out with the current weighted NBA lottery system. The Pelicans are currently tied for the third most losses in the league.
What's the upside for LaMelo? He comes back and looks good and confirms he's the top pick in the draft? Then what? The Knicks actually win the lottery and he ends up cursed?
There are only a few reasons to come back and most of them are dumb. Maybe he wants bragging rights over Lonzo who was taken #2. Maybe he wants the few extra million dollars that are the difference between the top and bottom of the lottery. For most people that's a dealbreaker, but the Balls don't need the money. Besides, if he's really deserving of the #1 pick, he'll make up that money wherever he's drafted.
If LaMelo Ball has gone from the little kid jacking up ill-advised half-court shots in high school games to a legitimate top pick in the NBA Draft in just a couple years, there's no good reason for him to play again in Australia. Unless he just loves playing basketball, which is also cool.