Ball has been spotted on social media at various Detroit institutions this year, and he was in a Detroit-based gym when he addressed reporters via Zoom on Monday.
There’s a good chance Ball won’t be available when the Pistons pick at No. 7 in November’s draft, as he’s widely projected to be a top-four pick. But if he were to fall (or if the Pistons moved up), he’d already be familiar with the area.
“I definitely always had that mindset, but you know how it is out here,” Ball said when asked if he’s been able to adopt the “hard-nosed” mindset that Detroiters have. “So that’s only going to help, too.”
Ball, who participated in the NBA’s virtual draft combine media sessions on Monday, is one of many players likely near the top of the Pistons’ draft board. He’s widely regarded to be the best point guard prospect in this draft, and point guard is a major positional need for the Pistons.
He said he hasn’t talked to the Pistons, and it’s unclear if he will. But Ball declined to confirm if he talked to multiple teams when asked. The only team he confirmed he’s talked to so far is the New York Knicks, who have the eighth overall pick.
Ball met Jackson in 2018, when Jackson coached Ball at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Jackson then moved with Ball to Australia during the summer of 2019, after Ball signed a contract with the Illawarra Hawks. Ball averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals last season, solidifying himself as one of the best prospects in the draft.
Even though he’s called Detroit home for six months, Ball made it clear that he views himself as being worthy of going No. 1.
“Ever since I was little, when you do little projects and stuff, that was one of my goals,” he said. “To go to the NBA and be the No. 1 pick.”