LiAngelo Ball is coming to Detroit with a chance to prove that he belongs in the NBA.
When Detroit Pistons fans were clamoring for one of the Ball brothers to land in Detroit, the expectation was LaMelo Ball via the NBA, not LiAngelo Ball via free agency.
Nonetheless, this is where we are.
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Pistons have signed the free-agent guard to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. At first glance, this move may seem shocking to some. After all, unlike his older brother Zo and his younger brother Melo, there was no mention of this Ball brother landing on an NBA roster.
And his incident in 2017 while playing college ball for UCLA did not do him any favors.
On November 7th, 2017, Ball and two of his UCLA teammates were arrested in Hangzhou, China, for shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store. The incident took place a day before UCLA’s season opener against Georgia Tech in Shanghai. All three players were subject to a prison sentence from three to ten years. Fortunately for them, all three players did not face any prison time. Due to the incident, UCLA suspended Ball indefinitely, and he then left the program altogether a month later.
What is Troy Weaver doing?
The immediate reaction on social media regarding Ball getting a Pistons contract is mixed.
Some fans hate the move because, in their minds, LiAngelo Ball is the “worst” Ball brother of the trio. Then, another group of fans is happy to see him get the opportunity to make an NBA roster. Along with that, the same happy fans are ecstatic that Lavar Ball, father to the Ball brothers trio, made good on his word of all three of his sons making the NBA.
As mentioned above, this Ball brother getting an NBA contract may seem shocking, but if anyone takes a deep breath and ponders the move, it becomes less surprising.
Before the NBA and its G-League shut down due to the coronavirus, Ball played for the Oklahoma City Blue, the G-League affiliate to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
New Pistons general manager Troy Weaver came Detroit from the Thunder. During his time with OKC, it’s safe to surmise he saw potential in the middle Ball child.
Additionally, Ball signing to the Pistons goes hand in hand with Weaver’s draft picks and free-agent signings. Weaver drafted and signed players to the Pistons roster that have a chip on their shoulder, especially with the signing of Josh Jackson.
Lastly, for those who do not know, Ball trained in Michigan for several months during the Stay At Home order. He and his younger brother LaMelo stayed with former NBA player Jermaine Jackson, while LaMelo prepared for the NBA Draft.
The Pistons training camp is on the horizon, and there is no guarantee that Ball will even make the final roster. Regardless, this is his chance to prove his doubters wrong. And if he’s able to do that, the Pistons may have a free-agent steal on their hands.