How GOOD Is LiAngelo Ball Actually? (Ft. NBA Potential, Shots, LaMelo Ball, & Some Stealing)
Lonzo Ball made the NBA, LaMelo is projected to be a top 3 pick now, but LiAngelo, the middle Ball brother, is not in the NBA, but how good is he actually? #NBA #LiAngelo #HowGood
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At one point LiAngelo was projected to be a second round pick and teams wanted to give him a chance in the summer league, so the question is how good is he actually?
LiAngelo is often the forgotten Ball brother and just like LaMelo Ball, is a mystery due to circumstance. The first real press that LiAngelo got was when LA times called Lonzo and LiAngelo quite a duo in his freshmen year. At the end of LiAngelo’s sophomore year, he verbally committed to UCLA. LiAngelo had enough hype with his high scoring game being 53 points. We didn’t really hear much of LiAngelo Ball until Chino Hill’s undefeated season when all three ball brothers finally were on the same team. He’s the one who looks like he shouldn’t be playing basketball. LiAngelo was the one with the weird body type. He was built like a middle linebacker for football with more of a wide frame. And that was always the concern with LiAngelo. Liangelo has been 6’ 5”, around 215 pounds around this time. It’s a big reason why LaMelo and Lonzo gained all the attention while LiAngelo kind of just never got that. Lonzo and LaMelo looked like NBA prospects while LiAngelo was this non-athletic, slow 2. LiAngelo could shoot from anywhere, but he wasn’t really creating shots off the dribble for himself. His shot is the most looking out of all the Ball brothers and he has a pretty quick release with a strong snap of his wrist.
And then LiAngelo Ball went to UCLA and these practices showed a whole new side of LiAngelo Ball. He completely transformed. We saw him with some handles, shooting off the dribble, and actually being a shooting guard. He made some threes off catch and shoot with late contests and his jumpshot looked even quicker. Gelo was also quicker. He was able to drive by an opponent and then finish in the paint. This was all improving LiAngelo’s draft stock and as a reserve at UCLA, he would still have opportunities to show what he has over the season. But then he and 2 other UCLA students stole from a Louis Vuitton in China. Donald Trump apparently stepped in and was able to get them out of the situation, yeah that’s wild, and the three students were suspended indefinitely from UCLA’s basketball team.
Then LaVar Ball pulled LiAngelo Ball out of UCLA. LiAngelo’s play overseas was just average. In a different country in a weird system as a 3 star prospect, the NBA wasn’t looking at Gelo. NBA scouts said that he wasn’t even on extended lists. Still LiAngelo Ball was one of the best scorers on the Lithuanian team. LiAngelo showed a more willingness to pass and moving the ball around. He still had some sort of tunnel vision, but it was improved. And then came the 2018 NBA Draft. LiAngelo got some predraft workouts like that with the Lakers. Teams were interested in him this summer league which begs the question, why would they be interested based on what they’ve seen?
LiAngelo is somewhat of a raw prospect. LiAngelo was showing potential for improving his physical traits and I’m not talking about just getting an NBA body. LiAngelo was getting quicker, stronger, a little more springy. On top of that, Gelo is a shooter almost any team can use, not necessarily because he’s the most efficient shooter, but because he is constantly moving around. On Chino Hills, LiAngelo had to rely on LaMelo and Lonzo to give him the ball, but he also put himself in scoring positions relative to ball handlers. His off-ball movement, specifically getting open for 3, was elite. He would constantly be moving, readjusting himself based on where the ball was. Teams would love to have a willing off-ball mover with a razor quick release. Having a quick release is one thing, but having great catch and shoot mechanics is another. He also squares up with the basket nicely no matter what position he catches it from and does step into the shot. He’s able to efficiently transfer energy from his legs into hiss upper body and that flick of the wrist is mean. Now Gelo is not just a shooter. Because he is showing some handles, LiAngelo is capable of doing one move into a shot.
There is one skill that I don’t see LiAngelo getting enough credit for and that is his finishing, specifically how he’s able to create space through his layups. LiAngelo is not overly athletic, nor is he acrobatic like LaMelo, but he’s able to use bumps similar to Isaiah Thomas. He’s able to shield the ball away from the defender, lean into the defender, and then push off of them to shoot off that. With his wide build, that actually gives him more space to keep the ball away from defenders.
Will LiAngelo make the NBA? Will LiAngelo team up with Lonzo?