NBA scouts have been informed that they will now be allowed to scout LaMelo Ball’s and RJ Hampton’s practices in Memphis and Oklahoma City this week, despite previously being informed that they would not be permitted to do so.
Ball’s New Zealand Breakers and Hampton are practicing in the U.S. this week ahead of preseason games against the Grizzlies and Thunder, but there was some gray area concerning the presence of NBA scouts. On Sunday night, a number of scouts attempted to check out Hampton’s practice session but they were turned away due to the NBA’s “no-contact” rules, which bans teams from having any contact with draft-ineligible players.
Today, teams across the league were informed that everything has been sorted out and they will now be able to watch the 2020 prospects during practice. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony writes:
“A source told ESPN the Grizzlies were supposed to make the league office aware that the Breakers were scheduled to conduct practices at the Grizzlies’ facility that their scouts planned on attending, so all 30 NBA teams could be invited — a process that did not happen. The process of getting approval for such practices, featuring draft-ineligible prospects like Hampton, falls under the no-contact rule.”
“At approximately 10 a.m. ET Monday, Rich Cho, vice president of basketball strategy for the Grizzlies, sent an email to all NBA teams stating that “the league office has notified us that team personnel attendance is approved” for the Breakers’ evening practice at FedExForum. In addition, teams will also be allowed to attend the Breakers’ shootaround on Tuesday.”
In ESPN’s latest 2020 NBA mock draft, Ball has moved all the way up to No. 3, behind only Georgia Bulldogs shooting guard Anthony Edwards and Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman. The 6’7 point guard was previously ranked in the 20s, but his recent action with the Illawarra Hawks have scouts believing he could be the No. 1 overall selection next June.