LaMelo Ball
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While the 2020 NBA Draft is still about nine months away, one new mock draft has the New York Knicks taking LaMelo Ball.

It’s safe to say New York Knicks fans don’t want to wind up with another top pick at the draft next year. Most fans want the Knicks to be a little more competitive this season. Regardless, in an early mock draft from Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the Knicks are slated to take LaMelo Ball with the third overall pick in next year’s draft.

Ball is the most high-profile prospect without a doubt. His brother, Lonzo, plays for the New Orleans Pelicans and his father, LaVar, is something else entirely.

The youngest Ball brother is currently playing in Australia’s NBL and he’s turning heads in a preseason tournament. Once thought of as a mid-to-late first-round talent, Ball is quickly rising the prospect ranks.

“If he keeps this up, I don’t see any way he isn’t in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick,” one NBA executive told ESPN. “He completely changed my perception of the type of prospect he is, and all of the background info I gathered here from his coaches and teammates paint a very different story of what I thought about him off the court as well.”

LaMelo has had an unorthodox journey to becoming a top NBA prospect. He was pulled out of high school before playing professionally in Lithuania and later his father’s failed Junior Basketball Association. His jump to the NBL in Australia may have been his best career move to date.

There are undoubtedly Knicks fans throwing their hands up as they read this.

First off, so much can change between now and June. At this point in time in 2018, RJ Barrett was the consensus top pick in early mock drafts. Zion Williamson was hovering in the top five of most mocks, but the narrative shifted dramatically.

Secondly, almost every team that isn’t a playoff has a puncher’s chance of landing a top pick in the draft. The New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies each finished with 33 wins last season. Both teams jumped over the 17-win Knicks in the lottery.

The biggest takeaway from this mock draft is not that the Knicks might wind up with LaMelo Ball and all that comes with him. The larger point is that Ball is well on his way to becoming a top pick in next year’s draft.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.