DETROIT – New Detroit Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver has made dozens of moves over the last month that overshadow the signing of LiAngelo Ball.
But because this involves a member of the Ball family, Wednesday night’s signing rocked social media. Not only is he the third of three siblings to make it to the league, but his father, the controversial Lavar Ball, tweeted about the move almost immediately.
PROUD‼️ We’re just getting started. pic.twitter.com/WmcCOAsUot— Lavar Ball (@Lavarbigballer) December 3, 2020
But now everyone wants to know: Who is LiAngelo Ball?
The answer: We don’t really know.
The 22-year-old went to play for Vytautas Prienu in Lithuania after high school and didn’t hear his name called in the 2018 NBA draft.
His oldest brother, Lonzo, was the No. 2 overall pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. LaMelo Ball went No. 3 overall to the Charlotte Hornets in last month’s draft.
Before the 2018 draft, LiAngelo Ball played 14 games in Lithuania during the 2017-18 season. He averaged 12.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 21.7 minutes per game. He shot 41.5% from the 3-point line, 63.3% from the free-throw line and 42.5% overall from the field.
LiAngelo Ball, the brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (No. 2 overall pick in 2017) and Hornets No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball, is signing an Exhibit 10 deal, sources said. The Ball brothers are now all signed to NBA contracts. https://t.co/o0daB2O2z2— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 2, 2020
Is he good enough to make the Pistons’ roster? Without actually knowing what Weaver’s plans are, the answer is “probably not.”
By our calculations, the Pistons now have 22 players fighting for 15 roster spots. Click here to view each of those players and how they got here.
Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Sekou Doumbouya and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk are back from last season. Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey were top 20 draft picks last month. Mason Plumlee, Jahlil Okafor, Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant and Wayne Ellington were signed by Weaver via free agency. Deividas Sirvydis just got a three-year contract.
That’s 13 names right there. Some of the players acquired in trades last month, such as Dzanan Musa, Jaylen Hands and Delon Wright are more likely to make the roster than LiAngelo Ball. Who knows if Louis King, Saben Lee, Rodney McGruder, Nikola Radicevic or Anthony Lamb are in the mix.
The point is: Detroit has to cut a lot of players in the coming weeks before the start of the 2020-2021 season. Maybe LiAngelo Ball will surprise in camp and make the cut. But he doesn’t have much of a track record working in his favor.
The one-year contract between the two sides is an exhibit 10 deal that guarantees Ball gets a training-camp invitation.
Exhibit 10 players get bonuses of up to $50,000 to sign with a team’s G League affiliate, if waived. They have to play for the affiliate for at least 60 days to get paid.
Is Weaver just taking a flier on Ball, or does he simply need another player for camp? Either way, the Pistons have nothing to lose by bringing him in, and they have just as little incentive to keep him if he doesn’t force their hand.
LiAngelo Ball is a big name because of his family, but in the scope of everything Weaver has done with the Pistons’ roster since mid-October, this appears to be a fairly minor move.