The Los Angeles Lakers brought in six more 2018 NBA draft hopefuls on Tuesday. Among them was LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Lonzo Ball, who is hoping to follow in his brother’s footsteps and get his name called in next month’s draft.
Unfortunately, of all the players present at the UCLA Health Training Center on Tuesday, LiAngelo has the worst chance of getting drafted. According to Adrian Wojnarowksi of ESPN, NBA general managers don’t have the former three-star recruit on their scouting lists, not even “the extended lists.”
Despite this, Ball has decided to go through with the NBA draft process and had his first-ever NBA workout with the Lakers. While some of the early videos might suggest otherwise, Ball said his workout went well.
“I feel like it went good,” Ball said. “I mean it’s always fun getting in here with dudes that want to get better, so it was a good workout ... I showed I can knock down shots, get some wins in the two-on-twos and three-on-threes. Just showed I can play the game.”
Ball spent the last few months with BC Vytautas of the Lithuanian (LKL) League after withdrawing from UCLA following a international shoplifting incident in China. Say what you will about the Ball family, but there’s never a dull moment with them.
During his time in Lithuania, Ball averaged 12.6 points on 41.5 percent shooting from behind the arc and contributed 2.8 rebounds per game. But Ball faced public criticism from his former head coach Virginijus Seskus earlier this year because of his and his youngest brother LaMelo’s lack of effort on the defensive end.
“They don’t defend well,” Seskus told tv3.lt’s Vaidas Čeponis (via a translation by Lonzo Wire). “LaVar does not stress defense as well.”
But LiAngelo himself feels like he can be a capable defender at the NBA level, despite his body of work to date showing otherwise.
“I feel like I have the right tools to be a great defender, like as far as coming off of screens and stuff, defending screens,” Ball said. “Stuff like that, as long as they tell me what I’ve got to do, I can get it done.”
Ball has his second pre-draft workout scheduled for June 10 with the Golden State Warriors. He’s also rumored to have a workout scheduled with the Los Angeles Clippers some time next month. If he can show those teams the skills he wanted to show the Lakers, then maybe there will be more interest in him than currently thought.