With his brother LaMelo and father LaVar sitting courtside and the raucous fanfare that follows the Ball family, it's easy to get caught up in Ball-mania, but LiAngelo Ball is more than making his time in Las Vegas count with the Charlotte Hornets.
Ball, who went undrafted in 2018, signed with the Oklahoma City Blue, but never played due to the pandemic shutting down the season. He went on to sign an Exhibit 10 deal with the Detroit Pistons later that year and was waived two weeks later, but now he's finally getting his shot at the NBA after spending the lead up to Summer League working out with his brother and his Hornets teammates.
Through two Summer League games, Ball has impressed in limited minutes, showcasing a quick release from the 3-point line and the ability to consistently knock down shots from the outside.
In his debut, he poured in 16 points in 16 minutes, connecting on 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, following that up with 10 points, four rebounds and two steals on 4-of-8 shooting in 20 minutes against the Sacramento Kings
👌-ball- NBA (@NBA) August 8, 2021
LiAngelo Ball knocks down his first jumper for the @hornets!
📺: #NBASummer on NBA TV pic.twitter.com/uDf15yHWVC
Sure, it's a very small sample size and Summer League basketball isn't always the best gauge for making it work at the next level, but the Hornets have so far been impressed with what they've seen from Ball.
"I was happy for him," James Bouknight, the No.11 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft said. "I think he should be out there more.
"I'm with him at practice every day. We talk. He's cool. He's a cool dude. He played well out there and he understands his role. The best part about him is he knows his role and he's willing to do that. He's going to compete on defence and then when we get to 'O,' when he gets ball he's going to make shots. I think he had a great game."
The Hornets have already filled out their two-way contracts for the 2020-21 season signing Arnoldas Kulboka and guard Scottie Lewis, meaning they would have to sign Ball as a free agent, but along with being the brother of the reigning Rookie of the Year and franchise cornerstone LaMelo Ball, LiAngelo does address one of the Hornets biggest needs in perimeter shooting.
Last season they were 10th in 3-point makes and 14th in 3-point percentage, however they parted ways with two of their five best 3-point shooters, losing Malik Monk (40.1 percent) and Devonte' Graham (37.5 percent) in free agency.
While Ball's best path to the NBA seems to be with the Hornets, his Summer League performances could well put him on the radar of other teams around the league, where 3-point shooting is at a premium.
LiAngelo Ball battles inside for the @hornets!- NBA (@NBA) August 9, 2021
He's up to 10 PTS on NBA TV! pic.twitter.com/lOOOjUOILq
"It was very impressive, I was thrilled for the kid," Hornets assistant Dutch Gaitley said after Ball's debut.
"For everything with his brothers being starting point guards in the NBA. And for him to come out ... I'm thrilled for the kid and for him to have this moment right now. Anybody can have one game. Now, let see, hey can you do it again? Because he's just put himself in the scouting report. They had three Kings coaches watching and they are saying, 'Don''t let this guy shoot.'
"Now how is he going to be able to find his shots and be able to be [like], 'Alright, they take my shots away and not force it,' making plays for other guys? But I was thrilled for him."
LiAngelo Ball tips it through traffic for the Nick Richards lay-in! #NBASummer- NBA (@NBA) August 8, 2021
📺: NBA TV pic.twitter.com/0Id0DWIPgu
The Hornets have two more games scheduled in Vegas against the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, giving Ball more time to leave an impression, but it's safe to say he already has.
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