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.
Monday, father LaVar Ball — he of the Lakers’ LaVar Ball rule — has pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA. The announced plan was to get him ready for the draft.
Don’t expect to see LiAngelo in the NBA, either.
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).
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.