One of the central storylines of the Las Vegas Summer League this year has been the play of LiAngelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets. With his two brothers, Lonzo and LaMelo, already well-established in the NBA, there is a lot of interest in the third Ball brother, and if he’ll be able to make it in the league. Thus far, Ball appears to have made a positive impression on the Hornets organization and boosted his own stock in the process, as Hornets staff members “love” Ball and his work ethic, according to Jordan Schultz of ESPN.
“Great kid. Love him,” Hornets lead assistant coach Jay Triano said of Ball. “He was at the facility practicing every day for two months to play in the Summer League. Shows a ton of character. He can shoot it, great feel, knack for scoring.”
Ball dropped 16 points in his first Summer League game with the Hornets, and he followed that up with a 10-point performance in the second game. He had eight points in Charlotte’s third game, and he matched that total in their fourth contest against the Raptors on Saturday. Against Toronto, Ball played 17 minutes, and he knocked down three of his eight attempts from the floor. During that contest, he showed that he can connect on long-range shots in transition, like he did here:
He also demonstrated an ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim:
Ball has made the most of his opportunity with the Hornets, and while his promising play may have come as a surprise to some, Ball himself isn’t one of those people.
“I know myself, I’m an NBA player,” Ball said of his play, via the Los Angeles Times. “In my head, I can play in the NBA. I can play anywhere for real. I don’t really think about how people think about me, I just do my own thing.”
Unfortunately for Charlotte, Ball’s play in Vegas hasn’t been resulting in wins, as the Hornets have dropped all four games that they’ve played so far. They’ll play their final game of the summer against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. Once the summer slate is complete, the question will become if Ball did enough to parlay his play into an invite to training camp in September — either with the Hornets or another organization.
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“I hope so.” Ball replied when asked if he thought that he had done enough to earn a roster spot next season. “It’s really the coaches’ decision but I feel I’m ready for whether the NBA, Summer League, anything, really. They just got to tell me what to do and then I’ll be ready.”
Given how he’s played, and the fact that his brother LaMelo is a foundational piece for the franchise, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if LiAngelo ultimately does get a training camp invite from Charlotte.