Former New Jersey Nets player Josh Boone has declared his current Illawarra Hawks teammate LaMelo Ball is one of the best passers he has ever played with.
It’s high praise from Boone, considering he played with Jason Kidd in New Jersey, who is second on the NBA’s all-time assists leader board with 12,091.
“He is a 6’7” point guard who has tremendous court vision, rivalling some of the best that I’ve played with,” Boone said of Ball on The SEN NBL Show.
“He has a really great feel for the game in terms of young guys, he has probably got the most potential that I’ve ever seen or that I’ve ever played with for sure. The sky is the limit for him.
“When he gets hot, he can really shoot it.”
Boone also explained how Ball’s defensive effort, an element of his game that has been questioned, is improving by the week.
“It’s been really nice, LaMelo is one of those guys who is really open to suggestions and encouragement,” Boone said.
“I’m always trying to give him little things. He is working defensively. When we started the year, he was definitely having some lapses, but I think he has made great improvements over the last few months and in particular over the last several weeks.
“I’ve really seen a big improvement in his defence, and I think a lot of that comes down to him listening to what the older guys are saying and really acting on that.”
Ball is playing with the Hawks under the NBL’s Next Stars program and is a projected top three pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
The younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, LaMelo has brought worldwide attention to the NBL, due to his massive fanbase and growing NBA prospects.
Despite Ball’s immense off court following, Boone says he is a joy to be around.
“He is a great kid,” Boone said of Ball.
“I think he gets a little bit of a bad rep just stemming from the things that go along with him. He has done a great job of proving a lot of that to be mistaken talk.
“He really is a good kid, he is fun to be around, he is always laughing and joking, sometimes maybe he needs to take things a little more seriously occasionally, but he is always an enjoyable person to be around. He is smart and he listens.”
Illawarra plays top of the table Sydney Kings this Sunday, in a game that could break NBL crowd records.
The highest ever regular season attendance for a single NBL game in Sydney is 12,050, while the biggest ever crowd for a standalone NBL game in Sydney is 14,569 (both set last season against Melbourne United).
The biggest crowd for a single NBL game is 15,336 between the Melbourne Tigers and South East Melbourne Magic at Rod Laver Arena in 1996.
These records could be broken while a huge international audience is also expected to tune in to watch Ball battle Casper Ware and the Kings.
Listen to the latest edition of The SEN NBL Show in the player below with Sam Hargreaves, Peter Hooley, Josh Boone, Jason Cadee and Melo Trimble.