Love them or hate them, the Ball family has certainly managed to grab our attention. With oldest son Lonzo playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the spotlight has been on them in an unprecedented way.
Now, Lonzo’s younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo have headed to Lithuania to continue their development after father LaVar pulled them out of UCLA and Chino Hills High School, respectively.
While the hope is to get them more minutes in a professional setting, professional scout Pete Philo, formerly the director of scouting and player personnel for the Minnesota Timberwolves and director of international Scouting for the Indiana Pacers, has concerns about whether or not that will really happen.
He spoke to Sam Vecenie on The Game Theory Podcast about the move:
“I was nervous because I know the level of play over there. It’s really, really good. And I also knew the thought process, and the structure, and the culture over there in terms of basketball, how basketball is taught, how basketball is played, and I had some concerns….the coaches don’t really care, they’re not gonna play the game of you’re popular, we’re gonna play you. I think a lot of people saw that the other day when the Ball kids played in their first pro game. When I say pro game, I’m talking about the senior league game where they only played a few minutes. It didn’t surprise me that they didn’t play, but this can’t last a long time otherwise it’s going to stunt the development of these kids.”
As Philo mentioned, LiAngelo and LaMelo played limited minutes when their team, Vytautas, was playing in the Lithuanian league. In the Big Baller Challenge league, which generates most of the highlight plays that are seen, they are playing against lower-level Lithuanian youth teams.
In that regard, the Challenge league is a good opportunity for them to get playing time, but ultimately, they both have to find a way to carve out minutes at the highest level.
That’s going to be a challenge, and if their development is indeed stunted by sitting the bench in Lithuania, then LaVar’s plan of having all three of his boys join the Lakers may be even more far-fetched than it initially seemed.
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