G League

LiAngelo Ball Gets NBA Opportunity With the Detroit Pistons

On December 2, it was reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic that LiAngelo Ball has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Detroit Pistons. Meaning that the three Ball brothers, along with Lonzo and LaMelo, are now all signed to NBA rosters.

LiAngelo’s deal with the Pistons is an Exhibit-10 contract. Which is essentially a training camp deal, giving the team an opportunity to get a closer look at the NBA hopeful.

If Ball impresses, he could earn a full NBA deal, a two-way contract (if an existing two-way player is waived), or could join the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive. If the latter occurs, Ball may be eligible for a $5,000-50,000 bonus. This acts as an incentive for him to commit to the G League affiliate, rather than take his talents overseas.

He can be eligible for the bonus if he is signed on a two-way contract as well. Even if he’s waived at a later date.

NBA Draft: Is LiAngelo Ball a fit for the Minnesota Timberwolves?
(Image/Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images)

Liangelo’s Career to Date:

In his senior year at Chino Hills High School, Ball averaged 33.8 points and led the state of California in scoring. His performances earned him First-Team All-State honors.

Against Rancho Christian School, he scored a career-high 72 points (13 3P), in a 128-108 victory. This was the 10th-highest in most points scored in California high school history. He also broke the 60 point barrier twice.

After a controversial spell with UCLA at the collegiate level. Which led to him getting suspended, not playing a regular-season game, and eventually withdrawing from the team, Ball headed overseas.

Alongside his brother, LaMelo, he joined Lithuanian outfit, BC Prienai. for the 2017-18 season. Where in 14 LKL games (6 starts), he averaged 12.6 points and 2,8 rebounds. On 42.5% shooting from the field, 41.5% from 3-point land.

In an exhibition game against the Guangdong Southern Tigers youth team, Ball tied his scoring career-high as he knocked down 72 points in a 159-115 victory. This was mere hours after he declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, where he fell undrafted.

Post-Draft Journey, G League Opportunity:

Ball’s next move was to join the Los Angeles Ballers in the Junior Basketball Associate (JBA), again alongside his brother LaMelo. A league founded by his father, LaVar Ball.

He joined mid-season (2018-19) and recorded 53 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in his debut. He was selected to the JBA All-Star Game and named co-MVP, after scoring 39 points. Ball ended up leading his team to the league championship while being named Finals MVP.

Ahead of the 2019-20 season, the 22-year-old had surgery on his ankle and was ruled out for the majority of the campaign. In December 2019, he signed with the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA G League, as a practice player.

In March 2020, Oklahoma City signed Ball to a full contract by waiver claim. However, the league ended up being suspended and canceled before he could suit up.

LiAngelo Gets NBA Opportunity; Surviving With Pistons Won't Be Easy
(Image/Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images)

Developing Further at the Top Level:

LiAngelo Ball certainly holds potential as a spot-up shooter. Once he gets hot, he can be automatic from range. Standing at 6-foot-5, he also possesses a large frame that provides him the capability to stand strong in the professional ranks.

Whether he is possible of performing consistently in the NBA is debatable. G League consideration holds question marks too. There just isn’t enough of a sample size to judge Ball.

He had an impressive high-school career, which ended in 2017. Since then, he’s been overseas in Lithuania. Where he performed well as a 20-year-old, shooting 41.5% from deep. But the move was more of a publicity stunt and his impressive showings came in exhibition contests.

The JBA, founded by his father, was a short-lived experiment. After a single season in 2018, the league folded, and the competition Ball faced was contentious.

The G League stint with the Oklahoma City Blue was the perfect opportunity to see Ball shine, but unfortunately, that was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances.

Most likely, his Exhibit-10 deal with the Detroit Pistons is lining him up for the G League, with the Grand Rapids Drive. If he impresses in training camp, there is a potential upside for a two-way contract.

The G League will be the perfect platform for LiAngelo Ball to showcase his abilities and develop further. He undoubtedly has talent, the world just needs to see more of it. The potential Atlanta G League bubble could be the perfect opportunity for him to take the next step.

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