During the interview, Smith stated that Ball playing overseas on the NBL rather than playing college basketball may not have helpe his game. “It might hurt him as a competitor,” said Smith.
“You’re jumping from a league that probably isn’t as competitive as college basketball and without as many great coaches.
What you miss when you don’t go to college is the fact that you’re not playing for great coaches. They develop great schemes for you and you have to adjust. It’s a learning curve that he’s missing.
Great players adjust but I think he’d have been able to adjust to the NBA style better if he’d gone to college.”
Ball, 18, averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists this season for the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL20 basketball league.
Once a five-star UCLA commit, his older brother, Lonzo Ball, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017 and is currently a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Appearing on a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, NBL analyst, Corey “Homicide” Williams revealed his thoughts on Smith’s comments about Ball and discussed Ball’s upside at the next level in the NBA.
Corey “Homicide” Williams on why he disagrees with NBA on TNT analyst Kenny Smith’s critique on LaMelo Ball:
“With all due respect, Kenny Smith has been in this game forever. NBA Champion. Leader. Point Guard. Shooter. Two time champions with Houston – He don’t know what he’s talking about on this… Why wouldn’t you not want a player to go pro and learn and, get thrown into boot camp and learn against grown men? What’s college going to teach him for a couple of months that the pros can’t? C’mon man… This is boot camp. This basically is his rookie season. Tell me a point guard that’s better than him right now who’s in college – it ain’t Cole Anthony. I’ll tell you that. Who else? Who are you gauging him off of?… one kid that’s a flat out dog – Anthony Edwards from Georgia (University of Georgia)… that’s a two guard. Tell me a POINT GUARD that’s better than LaMelo Ball that’s in college. These guys have had four months before the NCAA Tournament. Who showed you what in those months? I’m not over there. I’m going off of what the consensus mock drafts are showing, ok? Who did what at the point guard position better than LaMelo Ball? – I’ll wait… What’s Kenny Smith talking about man? You’re trying to tell me you wouldn’t want a kid go pro first and thrown in with the wolves and see how you adjust then? Is he going to school for 4 years? – That makes no sense if you’re talking about a kid going to college 3-4 years. This kid is gone for 4 months.”
Corey “Homicide” Williams on why LaMelo Ball could possibly be the top point guard in this year’s NBA Draft:
“How can you get better than that if you’re NOT naming no other point guard before him? Do you know what he was ranked before the NBL? Coming into the NBL he was ranked at like, #46. Then he went as high as number one. What’s higher than that? Nobody you named as a point guard – How is this a conversation? What is Kenny Smith talking about?”