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Lonzo Ball on brother LaMelo: ‘Whoever has the No. 1 pick, that’s who’s gonna get him’

LaMelo Ball

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks in action during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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Lonzo Ball has his younger brothers’ back.

Lonzo has been playing better of late — seeming to find a comfort level with his revamped shooting form and within the Pelicans offense (while waiting for Zion Williamson to return so he can start throwing lobs) — having a string of 20+ point scoring games and looking better running the offense.

However, the elder Ball brother gets asked as many questions about his younger brother LaMelo — a likely top-five, maybe top-three pick in the coming June draft — as he does about New Orleans. Lonzo has LaMelo’s back and thinks he should go No. 1, as he told Marc Berman of the New York Post.

“Wherever he lands, he’s gonna help out a lot. Anybody could use him,” Lonzo Ball told The Post...

“Whoever has the No. 1 pick, I feel like that’s who’s gonna get him,” Lonzo said. “He’s been in the spotlight since he was 15, plus I went through everything he’s gonna go through. So he always has me to fall back on.

“But what he did overseas, what he did in high school, I think it’s a fair choice [as the No. 1-overall pick], honestly. He’s been killing grown men in Australia, which is a very good league. So I expect the same thing here. It’s different for everybody Hopefully, it happens from the first game. That’s what I’d love to see.”

LaMelo may go No. 1 because there is no Zion-style standout at the top of this draft board, according to sources speaking to NBC Sports. There’s are a number of players with potential — Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Cole Anthony — but teams are generally down on the top of this draft. It ultimately will depend on how the lottery balls bounce and which team lands the top slot, because right now different teams have different players on top of the draft boards.

Scouts like the potential of LaMelo, a 6'7" point guard with impressive handles, good size for the position, and is a gifted passer who averaged 17 points a game going against men in Australia (a league that helped produce a handful of other NBA players from Andrew Bogut through James Ennis). LaMelo makes some highlight-reel plays nearly every game.

However, LaMelo also shot just 25 percent from three and 37.5 percent overall in Australia, suffered an injury that raises questions about his durability (just like his brother Lonzo), hasn’t been a focused defender at any level, and there remain questions about his work ethic (although those reports have improved over the past couple of seasons). Plus, not every team wants to deal with the potential distractions of his father, LaVar Ball.

Lonzo might be Nostradamus and his brother goes No. 1, although the smart money is LaMelo goes a few picks later. Whatever happens, Lonzo will have his younger brother’s back.