LaVar Ball isn’t ready to give up the fight when it comes to his dream of his three sons all playing together in the NBA. Lonzo has already made it, as the No. 2 overall pick of the Lakers this past June. His youngest son, LaMelo, is a highly-regarded prospect and has a chance to make his way to the league as well, but the stumbling block for Ball’s quest for family NBA domination involves middle son LiAngelo.
LaVar recently pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA this week to spend the next year preparing him for the NBA Draft. That decision was widely criticized for a variety of reasons, but from the standpoint of an NBA fan or an NBA writer, the main problem with the plan was simply that LiAngelo Ball isn’t considered an NBA prospect.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wasn’t afraid to make sure everyone understood that earlier this week when he took to Twitter to put to rest any thought that LiAngelo had a shot at being drafted. Naturally, LaVar Ball had a response, as he joined SiriusXM NBA on his media tour this week to explain his decision and punch back at the critics and analysts saying LiAngelo isn’t a prospect.
“How do you not start the best shooter on the team when you’re at UCLA? Tell me how that goes,” LaVar said. “Your scouting report, you can do what you want. Put my boys on the got dang floor and they play. The proof is in the pudding. This boy’s been an average of 30 points throughout high school. You think he can’t put the ball on the floor? Tell me this. How does J.J. Redick start for the Clippers last year? Cause he’s the best defensive stopper? Cause he’s a point guard? Cause he can go off the dribble? No, he can put that ball in the hole with that shot. Every good team needs a good shooter, I don’t care what you say. And my boy can shoot the hell out the ball.”
This has been a common refrain from those that want to point to some kind of hope for LiAngelo. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman went on Outside The Lines and touted the middle Ball’s shooting ability as his best skill, noting he averaged over 30 points per game in high school.
There are guys in the NBA that are able to make a career out of having one elite skill. Redick, at this point in his career, is a poor example because he’s become a quality all-around player, but he certainly began his career as a sharp-shooter, as have many others who have lasted a long time. The question, then, is whether LiAngelo possesses that elite skill.
The stats point to the answer being no, as pointed out by DraftExpress’ Jonathan Givony with this chart of Ball’s high school shooting stats.
There’s not much “elite” about shooting 32 percent from three-point range, although it’s admirable that the young man hoisted 14 three-point attempts per game in high school, because that’s “Jimmer Fredette in China” territory. So, no, LiAngelo Ball is not an NBA-caliber three-point shooter right now. That’s also perfectly fine, because there are very, very few people on the planet that are.