LiAngelo Ball has left UCLA, don’t expect to see him in NBA next season
During the draft process last year, a scout told me that the only reason middle child LiAngelo Ball was going to UCLA on scholarship was older brother Lonzo Ball was a fantastic player and younger brother LaMelo Ball had a lot of potential and looked like a high D-1 player (ESPN has him seventh in the 2019 class, although other scouts have expressed big questions about his game outside just shooting). LiAngelo was one of the UCLA players suspended after a shoplifting incident in China.
LaVar Ball: "He's not transferring to another school," he told ESPN. "The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA Draft." The plan was always for LiAngelo to spend one season at UCLA and then leave, regardless of whether he was projected to be drafted.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 4, 2017
Don’t expect to see LiAngelo in the NBA, either.
Ex-UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball has no chance that he'll be drafted in June — and that was true before his shoplifting incident in China. "He's not on any of our scouting lists — even the extended lists," one GM told ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 4, 2017
Ball will struggle to find a serious job playing pro basketball, including the G-League. @Mike_Schmitz projected him in high school as a small-ball stretch 4-man at the mid-major college level. Would make sense for Ball to find a scholarship at a lower level and stay in school.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 4, 2017
It should be noted that non-NBA level brothers of players did stick around in the league in the past (J.R. Smith’s brother, Blake Griffin’s brother, there are others). However, that does not seem to be the case here because teams don’t see LiAngelo as having the potential to develop into an NBA player.
A return to college is unlikely — LaVar has global dreams for his Big Baller Brand and one of his children playing overseas can help promote that. LiAngelo is going to get his own Big Baller Brand shoe — the Gelo 3 — and he likely will get a chance somewhere overseas, although not likely with an elite team (he would need to earn that spot).
LaVar wants to take Big Baller Brand global. He’s fine with LaMelo and LiAngelo playing abroad and growing the brand in other parts of the world instead of playing in college. The question is will either be able to join Lonzo in the NBA?— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 4, 2017
With LaMelo being pulled out of high school (after the new coach there talked about getting all the players to play within the system), it is less likely he ends up at UCLA, even though he committed there. LaMelo has incredible shooting range but people I have talked to who have seen him had serious questions about his defense and basically every part of his game that is not shooting from three, including his effort. He’s a long way from the NBA right now.