Some say he’s a marketing genius, others say he’s a complete hack who needs to sit down and shut up. I feel he’s somewhere in the middle. But either way, Lavar Ball is doing what he wants and getting paid for it. Now he’s coaching his sons in an exhibition where he gets equal saying over play-calling and scheming for the entire Vytautus team (not just to LiAngelo and LaMelo).
The latest development in the saga of Lavar Ball has the brothers in the Lithuanian LKL attempting to work their way to the NBA or continued success in the pro ranks. The emergence of the Big Baller Brand as a company that Lavar thinks is worth 3 billion dollars (what a joke), has become an interesting sidenote of its own. The inclusion of a Facebook reality show (people still use Facebook?) and several sponsored events will help in that ridiculous pursuit.
More importantly, you’ve got an undersized (6’5) small forward in LiAngelo who has underwhelming athleticism and is literally made of jello. Dude needs to get on the caveman diet and step his baby fat ass in the gym. Still, he was a 3-star talent (which doesn’t mean he couldn’t work his way into something better) with a scoring ability that has translated well- albeit at a pro level that is similar to that of mid major college basketball at best.
LiAngelo was never going to be an NBA prospect. I don’t care what Lavar says (and he says a lot), the kid has a ceiling of being a decently productive player in Europe. And that’s saying something. There’s talented guys that go over to China, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Italy, and other places to play in leagues that are better than the NCAA but nowhere near the NBA (and probably not as good as the G League). So that’s saying something.
And then there’s the nerdy little brother LaMelo. The kid never met a shot he didn’t like. I swear this kid just watched Steph Curry montages all day and then tries to go out and emulate the Chef. But he’s not there yet (maybe not ever). But rankings aside, and they were high, the youngest Ball has the potential to be almost as good as the oldest.
The biggest problem with LaMelo is his defense, or lack thereof. In the system Lavar runs, defense isn’t really all that important. You give up layups for threes all day. But an impressive array of handles and a burgeoning ability to grab the rim (sort of dunking) hints that he might have what it takes. Unfortunately for LaMelo, he’s still only 16. The Lamborghini he drives around won’t make him feel any better about having to wait till he’s of age to potentially enter the NBA Draft.
For better or for worse, the Balls are here to stay. And that means Lavar too. It means having the sports version of the Kardashians around until they aren’t anymore. But whatever the case, the road has gotten tougher for a group of kids and a father with good intentions (however misplaced) that may have already peaked.