"I believe so".
This could have been the response to more than one question on Saturday night.
Are the Hawks still alive this season? Do you believe LaMelo Ball is the No.1 NBA draft pick next year?
As it was, the answer came from Ball himself pre-game, when asked on ESPN if he would be the first name read out in 2020.
And with the Hawks languishing at 1-7 at the foot of the ladder in the NBL this season, Ball lived up to the hype in Cairns, leading Illawarra to a 101-91 win.
He set the game alight in the second quarter, as Illawarra racked up 37 points to lead 59-45 at the main break.
Ball did most of the damage with 15 points to half-time, with six assists and three rebounds, though Sunday Dech was also superb from the bench, with 13 points and four rebounds to half-time, with veterans David Andersen and Josh Boone dominating inside.
The nervous moments continued when coach Matt Flinn called a time-out with a 1:06 on the clock, when Cairns had pulled it back to six, but Dech delivered when it counted at the end to seal victory.
Ball finished with 24 points, eight assists, three steals and six rebounds, while Dech had 21 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Andersen has 17 points and eight rebounds and Boone 15 and nine.
The Hawks now take on the Kings in Sydney on Sunday week.
While you're with us the Illawarra Mercury is offering sport readers 20% off an annual digital subscription. Sign up to stay up to date with all the local sports you love for only $3 a week. Terms and conditions apply.