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Minnesota Timberwolves meet with potential No. 1 pick LaMelo Ball

Projected No. 1 pick LaMelo Ball met with the Minnesota Timberwolves, owners of the top selection in the NBA draft, on Tuesday, a source told ESPN.

The meeting, conducted in Southern California, consisted of an interview and did not feature any basketball activity. It was attended by Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, and head coach Ryan Saunders, the source said.

The NBA relaxed restrictions on in-player evaluations and interviews in mid-October, according to a memo obtained by ESPN, opening the way for teams to meet with prospects in advance of the draft, which is scheduled for Nov. 18.

This was the first meeting Ball had conducted. He is tentatively scheduled to interview with the Golden State Warriors early next week; they have the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft. The expectation is that Ball also will interview with the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls, who pick third and fourth.

It is not unusual for players projected at the top of the draft to decline to conduct workouts. Last year’s top picks, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, selected No. 1 and 2 by the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively, only conducted interviews with the teams that drafted them. There is more uncertainty about the top of the draft this year, though, and Ball’s last competitive game came nearly a year ago, on Nov. 30, 2019.

Ball played for the Illawarra Hawks in the Australian NBL, where he averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.7 steals in 31 minutes per game, emerging as the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA draft thanks to his combination of size, ballhandling ability, creativity and passing instincts.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.

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