LiAngelo Ball, younger brother of Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, has officially declared for the NBA draft.
LiAngelo and the youngest Ball brother LaMelo are currently playing for Lithuanian professional team Vytautas overseas. LiAngelo was caught shoplifting on a team trip with UCLA in China, after which his father, Lavar Ball, decided to remove him from the team and withdraw LaMelo from high school to pursue playing time and experience elsewhere.
LiAngelo is averaging 15.7 points per game in the Lithuanian league. LaMelo, coming off of injury, is averaging 6.7 per game.
Here’s why I think teams should or should not consider drafting him this summer.
3 Reasons why you should be a Big Baller:
- LiAngelo is leading his team in scoring in a professional league with zero college playing experience. He is a proven scorer that can provide an immediate offensive spark off the bench.
- Lonzo Ball is starting to pan out. The number 2 draft pick last year came in with a lot of doubt and speculation and was out for a long time with a knee injury. He returned with an improved jumper and the Lakers have won more games than lost since his return. If Lonzo is starting to figure out the NBA, LiAngelo will too.
- It can be safely assumed that the Ball family has picked up a few followers during their brief stint in Lithuania. This is a relatively newer market, as few NBA players have come out of the European country. Big names in Lithuanian basketball include Arvydas Sabonis and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, whose jersey was retired by the Cavaliers in 2014. Recruiting one of the younger Ball brothers could provide easier access to scout for more Lithuanian talent.
3 Reasons why you shouldn’t draft LiAngelo Ball:
- One of the biggest concerns with drafting Lonzo last year was having to deal with his boisterous father Lavar. Lavar is currently an assistant coach with the Lithuanian team, but once LaMelo is drafted he may come lumbering back into the picture. Many teams probably do not want to deal with that.
- While LiAngelo has proven himself as a player in Lithuania, he has yet to prove himself as a leader of the team. Vytautas currently holds an awful record, at 5-22, so despite LiAngelo’s scoring prowess they are not winning games.
- This last point could be positive or negative depending on how LiAngelo develops in the league. Once drafted I imagine that Lavar is going to do everything he can to get LiAngelo to join his brother with the Lakers. This is good for a team if they end up getting a good return for him through trade, but absolutely terrible if they end up drafting a good player who leaves as soon as Los Angeles provides him a roster spot.
This appears to be a weaker draft pool than last year’s, so I imagine that LiAngelo will get drafted by a team in the later stages. Who will draft him, however, is anyone’s guess.
Featured Picture Source: bleacherreport.com
LiAngelo Picture Source: lonzowire.usatoday.com
Lavar Picture Source: ftw.usatoday.com