Many siblings grow up dreaming of playing professional sports with each other. Some siblings have been able to say that they’ve accomplished that goal such as the Holiday brothers and Antetokounmpo brothers. One of the most recent trios of siblings, and one of the most controversial, is the Ball brothers.
Back in 2017, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with their 2nd overall pick. This was following months of hype and media appearances from the Ball family. This selection set in motion the start of the Ball brothers achieving their dreams. In 2018, LiAngelo Ball declared for the NBA draft. Fully expecting to go in the first round, LiAngelo went undrafted, starting his journey to prove himself. In the 2020 NBA draft, the youngest of the brothers, LaMelo, got selected by the Charlotte Hornets with their 3rd overall pick.
Obviously, we can’t go any further without talking about the patriarch of this basketball family, LaVar Ball. When Lonzo was drafted, a reporter interviewed LaVar, who was wearing a Lakers colored hat from his clothing company, Big Baller Brand. This peaked the interest of the reporter because it was the same colors of the team that just drafted his son. When asked a question about his other two sons getting drafted later on, LaVar says, “I’ll have another hat on, that says ‘I told you so'”. Sure enough, the man kept his word and when LaMelo being picked was announced, we could see LaVar Ball wearing a hat that says “I told you so!”
What does this all have to do with the Ball brothers in the NBA? Well, LaVar clearly knew that they were going to all make it. Lonzo is on the Pelicans, LaMelo is on the Hornets, and LiAngelo has just signed an Exhibit-10 contract with the Pistons. If LiAngelo makes the Pistons’ main roster, then we could end up seeing all three officially playing in the NBA. LaVar has obviously said some outrageous things, but this one could end up coming to fruition.
With the Ball brothers, it can be seen that they all have something to prove. Lonzo needs to prove that he’s not a bust and can be a key player in the New Orleans Pelicans success behind Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. LaMelo, being one of the biggest question marks from his draft, needs to prove that he can live up to the hype unlike his brother Lonzo and help the Charlotte Hornets become a playoff level team. LiAngelo has the most to prove as he is trying out for the Detroit Pistons main roster and needs to prove that he can be a decent role player in the NBA.
LiAngelo is the most interesting story of the three brothers right now. He had troubles in UCLA which prevented him from being drafted. An ankle injury, which led to surgery, stopped him from being able to play basketball for a while. Last season he joined the Thunder’s G-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, and this showed his determination to make it to the NBA. Now, signing a contract with the Detroit Pistons, that determination is shown to be larger than ever. It is hard to know what will happen with Gelo this offseason. Maybe he makes the main roster. Maybe he is cut entirely. The most likely answer is that he will spend the season in the G-League on the Pistons’ affiliate the Grand Rapids Drive.
Right now, each of the brothers has a ceiling and a floor. Lonzo’s ceiling is a starting point guard on a winning team. He clearly is a pass first type of point guard so if you put him on a team with scorers, that ability to playmake will shine. He also is an above average defender. Being 6’6″ and having a wingspan of 6’9″ helps Lonzo defend other guards very well and being traded to the Pelicans has helped him show how good of a defender he can be. His floor, though, is being a bench rider. Their have been times in every season he has been in the league where people might question his game and whether or not he deserves the credit he is sometimes given. Now that Eric Bledsoe is on the Pelicans with Zo, people are hoping for Bledsoe to take over the starting spot, while Lonzo plays off the bench. If this happens, there is a possibility that this becomes permanent for Lonzo’s career and he never gets his starting job back.
Next, the other Ball brother to get drafted top 3, LaMelo. LaMelo right now is a wild card for the fact that his game is somewhat unknown. The Hornets need to take a real close look at LaMelo in training camp to see what parts of his game he should focus on. The ceiling for the youngest brother has to be an All-Star. The majority of NBA fans would probably say that they believe LaMelo will not only be the best of his brothers, but the best player from his draft class. There is a high chance that Melo wins the Rookie of the Year for the 2020-21 season. If he takes the time and puts in the effort to perfecting his game, he could end up being the only Ball brother with an All-Star appearance. The floor for LaMelo is a backup point guard. Since he is such a mystery, we don’t know if he will fall down the same rabbit hole his brother Lonzo did. I don’t believe that he will fall as far as Lonzo did though, so his floor is being a backup point guard for a more talented starter.
Lastly, LiAngelo Ball. LiAngelo over the past year has put in a lot of effort to getting to where he is now. His ceiling is being a role-player for an NBA team. He has many flaws in his game, but the same amount of strengths. He easily has the best shooting form and is the best shooter of his brothers, so he could end up as a primary perimeter shooter off of the bench for either the Detroit Pistons or another NBA team. His floor though, is the lowest of his brothers. He could end up out of the league. When I say out of the league I mean the NBA itself, not the G-League. I believe all of the Ball brothers will be associated with the NBA for years to come, but for LiAngelo he could end up playing for the affiliate league. It is not unlikely that Gelo ends up playing in the G-League for most of his career. It is also an achievement because not many players even make it to that point. He needs to outshine many other players to make a main roster and play in the NBA with his brothers.
The Ball family has been one of the most talked about basketball families in recent years. From a reality TV show documenting their lives to LaVar Ball taking his shirt off while making a WWE appearance, they have had a very interesting path to the NBA. They all have something to prove and each have something to lose. The 2020-21 season will be an interesting one if all three prove their worth, especially for LiAngelo. The future is bright for the former Chino Hills players and it will be fun to watch their careers.